A guest post from the experts at Tuck Sleep.
Most yogis face a dilemma at some point in their lives. They want to have a morning practices that centers them for the rest of their day, but they know they also need to sleep. Yoga in the morning has its benefits, but so does getting the 7-8 hours of sleep that most of us need in order to function well and stay healthy.
Fortunately, this is not an either/or scenario. You can, in fact, get all the rest your body needs and wake up early to practice, too. Here are some ways to help you achieve both goals.
Get to Bed Earlier
It’s not rocket science: if you want to get up earlier and still get a good amount of sleep, you will have to go to bed earlier. To determine your new bedtime, first figure out what time you need to get up to fit in your practice in the morning. Count backwards 7 or 8 hours from there, and that’s the time you need to be asleep (not just in bed, but sleeping!).
Some people welcome an excuse to go to bed earlier, but some find it difficult to convince their bodies to rest at an earlier hour. If this is you and the bedtime you calculated above made you shake your head and groan, don’t give up! There are ways to train your body and mind to rest earlier...maybe earlier than you’ve ever thought possible.
Set the Scene
Before you even try to fall asleep, make sure your bedroom is a place where sleep is likely to happen. Make the room as dark and soundproof as you can. If you can’t change your room, try wearing an eye mask and earplugs to sleep.
Ensure, too, that your bed is comfortable. Get a mattress that feels good to you and supports your back. Put soft, comfortable blankets on your bed and make sure you have enough of them to keep you warm if you get cold. Overall, make your bed and your bedroom a place where you want to spend your time.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
People are more likely to fall asleep under certain conditions. When you ensure that these conditions will be met, you will have an easier time falling asleep earlier.
Avoid naps. They can make you less tired when you’re actually trying to sleep.
Turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime. This helps your brain produce enough melatonin to put you to sleep.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both of these disrupt your sleep cycles, causing you to struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Keep the same schedule every day. When you go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, you train your brain to do these things at particular times.
You should never have to choose between your practice and your sleep. Make your room comfortable and cultivate good sleep hygiene, and you should be able to fit both into your schedule and your life.