Getting enough sleep has been quantified as feeling like winning a quarter of a million dollars! But how do you get there? Most articles on sleep tips tend to focus on creating bedtime routines or changing the environment in your bedroom. I like to focus on finding solutions by understanding how the body functions. So here are three basics of your body's sleeping function and what you can do to impact sleep most directly.
Your circadian rhythm is your body's clock, linked to the daily rhythms in your biology, from sleep, to digestive enzyme production, to cell regeneration, and hormone production. Master control of this rhythm is found in the hypothalamus, but every cell in your body apparently its own clock. Exercise outside in the morning to signal your circadian rhythm in a natural way.
The body normally goes to sleep when its temperature lowers. Taking a warm bath helps sleep because the body cools itself after the bath. If you tend to feel hot when you sleep, a better option might be sleeping on a cool pad like this one.
There are many aspects to breathing well, and each can produce a variety of effects. In yoga, many people know the ujayii breath and use it incorrectly outside of asana practice. Ujayii can be used as a way to focus attention on the breath and get feedback from the sound produced by this technique. It is also a heating breath, so not an appropriate breath for sleep. A more appropriate breathing technique is one that lengthens the exhale, like this one.