By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that just about everything you do affects your gut health. Slowing down, reducing stress, and ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep are all critical for maintaining a healthy equilibrium within your body and in turn, a healthy gut. We’ve highlighted ten tips for slowing down and getting a good night’s rest below:
- Eat your most substantial meal at lunch, not right before bed. Eating light before bed allows your digestive system to rest overnight. While you sleep, your body repairs itself. Taking the stress off of the digestive system allows the body to focus its energy on other areas.
- Drink some herbal tea. If you find that your stomach is unsettled, or that you’ve overindulged at dinner, try drinking peppermint tea. Aside from being delicious, peppermint tea has been used for centuries to help with digestion. It can help to reduce bloating and helps to promote relaxation – which can help you to have a more restful sleep.
- Meditate for 5-10 minutes. Meditation promotes relaxation, mental clarity, and can help to reduce stress. Incorporating it into your nightly routine can help relax the body and mind for a more restful sleep. Meditation could be deep breathing (tips below), or it could be sitting quietly in introspection. Start with 5 minutes and gradually work your way up to more.
- Try restorative yoga. Much like meditation, restorative yoga poses can assist you in relaxing both the mind and body. Not sure where to start? Try some of the poses we’ve outlined below:
- Wide-legged child’s pose. Kneel with knees mat width apart, and toes are touching. Place forehead on the mat with arms outstretched in front. Breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
- Legs up the wall pose. Lay with the backside pressed against the wall. Position legs up the wall with feet flat, as if standing on the ceiling. Arms can be laying on the belly, or outstretched to either side. Breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
- Corpse pose. Lay flat on your mat, back to the floor with your arms lying on either side and heels approximately mat width apart. Close your eyes and relax your muscles, beginning with your face and working downwards toward your feet. Allow your feet to flop out to each side. Breathe deeply for 3-4 minutes.
- Happy baby pose. Lay with your back to the floor and bend your knees so that they are parallel to the ground, feet pointed to the sky. Grab the inner part of your feet and press down towards the floor gently. Breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
- Supported bridge. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor (approximately hip-width apart), stretch arms at your sides, place a yoga block or rolled towel under your sacrum (deep lower back), allow your sacrum to rest on the support of your block or rolled towel. Breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
5. Stay off your phone. It might be unrealistic to remove all digital distractions from the bedroom, but staying off your phone before bedtime can help you sleep. The blue light that your phone emits can trigger sleeplessness. The blue light from your phone is meant to mimic natural sunlight, and while that can be helpful during the day, at night, it can throw your circadian rhythm off and result in insomnia.
6. Take a relaxing bath. Baths are a great way to promote relaxation. We like using essential oils, candles, and relaxing music to set the mood.
7. Journal your goals. Journaling is a great way to channel frustrations, vent, or organize your thoughts at the end go the day. Setting intentions for yourself for your week ahead, or even just for the next day can help remove any lingering stress from the day.
8. Listen to music for relaxation. Music can be very therapeutic. Playing something relaxing before bed, maybe while you meditate, can help wash away the stress of the day.
9. Try deep breathing. Much like meditation, deep breathing is very relaxing. Many people use deep breathing as a meditation technique. If you are new to it, you can follow these simple steps:
- Sitting upright in a quiet area, place one hand on your belly.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe four counts in expanding your diaphragm.
- Breathe six counts out until you’re completely out of breath.
- Repeat for several minutes.
10. Have a bedtime. Creating a routine for yourself helps your body get into a rhythm. Going to bed at a consistent time means you will be more in tune with your internal clock, and more likely to get a restful nights sleep.
Do you need more tips for maintaining a healthy gut? See our blog on Exercise & Gut Health here.