The topics of sleep and stress are widely covered by mainstream health sources, so I won’t go into too much detail. Here are a few hacks that have helped me.
Tim Senesi’s Routine – To help me unwind before bed. There are many Yoga instructors online. Tim is one of my favorites.
Bedtime Yoga for muscles and Nerves, Yoga with Tim
Bedtime Yoga Class, Five Parks Yoga
Sandbag or Weighted Breathing
When I wake up in the middle of the night, I put a large ankle weight on my stomach and bottom ribs. Then, I move the weight up and down with my breath. I usually fall asleep within an hour–never fails. You can use a bag of rice, or something heavyish like that. Your diaphragm might feel shaky when first doing this exercise. DO NOT fall asleep with weight on your stomach. DO NOT use weighted breathing on small children, as they can suffocate. Here’s a link on how to sandbag breathe LynnFrasierStillpoint.
- Ashwaganda – To reduce cortisol levels throughout the day and prevent middle-of-the-night insomnia.
500mg twice a day (in morning and at night)
- Lavender Essential Oil – For calming effect. I put the oil in an ultrasonic diffuser by my bedside.
- Essential oils of Frankincense, vetiver, clary sage, myrrh, ylang ylang
- Melatonin – For big-time trouble falling asleep or jet lag. No more than 1mg per night. I usually break up a sublingual pill into several pieces for the right dosage. Americans are overdoing this hormone, much to their disadvantage. Here’s an informative podcast interview with the man who discovered melatonin.
Anything you do to reduce stress during the day will help to keep cortisol levels from affecting sleep at night. Thus, reducing stress helps us to fall asleep and stay asleep. A healthy diet and daily exercise are foundational for stress-limited living. Incorporating Humming Guts routines into your day will help to reduce stress over time. Below are some other practices I have found to be effective in soothing my body and mind.
Self-Massage & Tapping
- Face Massage, Abigail James – This massage is not only soothing, but my acne and wrinkles have improved.
- Gua Sha Face Massage – Dr. Tina Hou
- Ear, Jaw, & Scalp Massage, Rachel Richards Massage
- Intra-oral self care, James Jackson – To relieve pain from grinding teeth in sleep
- Massage and Tongue release, The Vocal Yogi
- Tapping, Brad Yates
Lion’s Breath and Diaphragm Pulling – Video links to each of these exercises are on my breathing and digestion pages, respectively. I get immediate relief from stress with diaphragm pulling, particularly from the kind of restless stress I can’t pinpoint.
Prayer – It is my personal belief that there is no greater peace than being in constant communication with God, Lord and maker of the universe. My peace comes from knowing His love.
Brain Health – A healthy brain affects everything. There are many podcasts and resources dedicated to the topic of brain health. One of my favorites is Smart Drugs Smarts. A tip from me: When I get stuck overthinking about a project or event, I like to play brainy games, like Sudoku. I also like to spend time reading articles on Mental Floss. Brainy activities like reading and gaming are like active meditation for me.
Social Health – Take regular breaks from your phone, social media, and anything else that’s keeping you from interacting with others. Physically spend time with people. Healthy relationships are essential to human existence. It might seem strange that I even have to say this, but I’ve seen far too many friends experience anxiety during times of isolation or when they are caught up with work or a consuming project.