We’ve been talking about Energy Management (one of the Yamas of Yoga) in yoga these past few weeks. We’ve been talking about sleep in BeeWell Gatherings. They are intricately connected. When our energy is out of whack throughout the day, it is going to impact our ability to sleep.
We could talk about it in terms of the balance of hormones (stress vs. rest hormones) or the balance of the rest and GO (parasympathetic and sympathetic) nervous systems, but I think it works well to just consider: Management of Energy.
We can get sidetracked by names and numbers and what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” when we start bringing in the physical body systems. Looking at our lifestyle and our management of energy and finding tools that are supporting works really well and you don’t need to be science-y-smart to understand it. It also puts some of the power back into our own hands (yay!). And yes, there may be out of whack numbers and/or systems that may need to be addressed, but regardless the root and the tools for true wellness are going to come back to: what are you doing every day?
Energy Management. Are you spending the day stimulated by work, news, text messages, social media, hitting the hot yoga class, grabbing a mug of coffee, going for a run, taking phone calls…? These are all go-go-go stimulating things. Are you doing things (like going for a walk, quiet reading, settling yoga, gardening, etc) to nourish the stores of subtle energy or are you constantly tapping into reserves to “get through”?
Did you eat at regular times so that you had the energy for all the tasks to be done throughout the day or are you grabbing snacks and constantly tapping into reserves to “get through”?
The key questions are: are you constantly tapping into reserves to “get through”? Are you eating well to really fill those reserves or snacking to “get through”? Are you practicing still/quiet practices to fill those reserves? The reserves we are borrowing from do have to eventually be paid back…one way or another. And disrupted sleep is a warning sign that the balance of energy is off…
Take a moment to reflect on those above questions in your own life. Maybe even jot down (left side of a paper) where you expend your energy through the day and (right side) where you (for real) replenish your depleted energy. What is the balance of energy in your life?
Hint: if it’s using a glass of wine to “wind down” or watching TV or scrolling to “wind down”, that’s not replenishing the reserves. It’s probably not even getting you back to “neutral”. Likely, it’s stimulating and disrupting sleep patterns even more.
You may have, in your own exploration above, discovered what it is you need to do to manage energy and begin to get a good night’s sleep. Now the key is to do it. Commit to what you need. (Radical Self Care).
Here are three key tips that also might be helpful:
- Eat well. Eat seasonally appropriate nourishing meals on a consistent schedule to keep up appropriate reserves. Eating on a consistent schedule helps the body to relax as it knows what to expect when. It won’t “worry” about that next meal. It knows it’s coming. We’re truly creatures of habit.
- Go for a daily walk and connect to the sun. We’ve lost touch with the sun and the sun is the ruler of daily rhythms that help us to sleep. Pro Tip: Get up with the sun and really wind down (for real) in the evenings with the sun.
- Have a good evening ritual that is consistent (this is comforting to the habit creature we are) and is soothing and nourishing. A good this, then this, then this, then…sleep is really, really nice to begin to tell (and retrain) the body it’s time for sleep. Every single night, the pattern, rhythm, routine is the same that leads to bed and sleep.
I promised only three…so there are three. Have fun exploring and playing. Explore some other blog posts on here for Self Care, they will also support rhythm and a good night’s sleep. Ayurveda is very much about reconnecting to natural rhythms and reconnecting to natural rhythms connect us to our natural sleep rhythm which will help us sleep.
Helpful Blog Post: Eating Well.
Happy Sleep. Happy body. Happy Mind.
Join us for BeeWell Gatherings, weekly yoga or special yoga classes to learn more!! If you’re really ready to dig in, we also offer Yoga Teacher Training for personal development and growth (and, of course, you come out certified to teach yoga).