Renewed Collective

How to wind down your body to encourage restorative sleep.

Restorative sleep is the deep sleep required to restore your mind and body, repairing your muscles and strengthening your immune system, ready for a new day.

Signs and symptoms that could affect your sleep.

Do you find yourself feeling tight, achey or tense at the end of the day? A lot of us spend many hours a day sitting at a desk, or in our cars, or on the couch at night. Maybe your day is up and moving more, but it still may not be in ways that are ideal for your body. It is also important to keep in mind that doing the same thing over and over again for a prolonged period, regardless of if you are in good or bad posture when doing it, can also cause areas of tension, pain or dysfunction in your body.  

Often by the end of the day we are tired, and ready for a good night’s sleep. We know we need it to function at our best. But we are also holding lots of stress and tension throughout our bodies. So what can you do to help your body and mind wind down before you get to bed each night, and help yourself to get a more restful sleep?

Woman doing yoga stretches in bed

4 top tips to help you sleep.

Here are some of my favourite simple ways to help you sleep;

  • Stretch! The end of the day our bodies are typically tight and tense. It is best if your muscles and joints can move and relax before you head to bed. Taking some time to stretch at the end of the day before getting into bed can make a big difference. Stretch your upper body and lower body. Stretches for your neck and shoulders, as well as your back and  legs are also great. Do whichever ones feel good for you, to work on particular tight areas. Remember to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds for it to have maximal impact.
  • Move your body. Movement can help to decrease tension and aches in your joints and muscles. Easy mobilisations such as shoulder rolls and “Cat Camel” stretches are great to get movement throughout your spine. Combine this with some gentle neck circles and gentle rotations through your thoracic and lumbar spine are all great ways to move your body and spine before you get into bed.
  • Check your mattress and pillow. Having a good pillow that supports the curves of your neck whilst you are sleeping is important. Also take into account your body position when you sleep, trying to avoid laying on your stomach. This allows your muscles and joints to relax in an ideal position, supporting the curves in your spine,  so you are less likely to wake during the night or the morning with pain and tension. 
  • Take time to calm your mind and your nervous system. It is as easy as doing a short meditation (which can be guided) or simply some slow and deep breathing. After you have done your stretches, lay down, and take some time to breathe and calm your mind!

As always – please remember that these tips are general in nature. You should always speak to your health care provider with any specific concerns about your sleep.

This guest article is written by Dr Aimee Brown. Aimee is a Holistic Chiropractor, Personal Trainer, Ultramarathon Runner & Mother of three, based in Manning, Perth who is passionate about the mind & body connection. Aimee takes a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, looking at all aspects of wellbeing from diet & lifestyle to mindset, sleep & exercise. Learn more about Aimee or book in an introductory consult here.

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