Sleep and Meditation

By Arron Collins-Thomas (Director of TONIQ)

Sleep

Sleep is an important element to our overall wellbeing. This is your body’s time to recover and repair mentally and physically.

Many of us don't get enough sleep and therefore our bodies never fully repair, making us lethargic or more injury prone.

Over time this poor sleep can have detrimental effects on our mental health and wellbeing. Depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue are all common with people who don't have adequate sleep. 

The average person should aim to get seven to eight hours of good quality sleep a night.  

Here are some tips to help: 

  • Avoid looking at electronic devices (iPad, iPhone, laptop, television, etcetera) for 40 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light can reduce melatonin (sleep inducing hormone) and make it hard for you to get to sleep.  
     
  • Don’t eat or drink stimulants (alcohol and caffeine) just before you go to bed. A herbal tea or infusion is much better for you! 
     
  • Often if you are highly stressed, there will be a lot going on in your brain before you go to sleep. Meditating before bed can help calm the mind and relax you ready for sleep. 
     
  • A warm bath with Epsom salts may help you unwind after a long, tiring day. The magnesium in the salts is a muscle relaxant.  
     
  • Consider a couple of squares of dark chocolate or a small portion of dark cherries sprinkled with some dark chocolate as these are rich in both magnesium and serotonin (a precursor for melatonin). 

Here is our quick guide to breathing/meditation to help a beginner.  

  • Choose the right environment. As a beginner it’s hard to keep the mind from wandering and noises and people around can easily distract you from your practice. Find a space where you won’t be disturbed for 10-15 minutes. 
     
  • Find a comfortable position for you to sit for 10-15 minutes without moving. Sit either cross-legged with hands on your lap or in a chair with feet resting on the ground. It’s important to keep the natural curve of the spine while sitting so make sure you are not slouched over. 
     
  • Close your eyes softly and relax the face. 
     
  • Breath slowly and deeply. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Don't force the breath, let it increase naturally. The first few breaths may be shallow but as you progress the depth will increase. 
     
  • Awareness of the breath - as you take more breaths you will start to become calmer and more relaxed. Focus your attention and mind on your breathing. Start to count how many seconds you breath in and out for. Focus on trying to make the breath longer without forcing the lungs. Be aware of every breath you take in through your nose and every breath out through the mouth. If you find your attention strays from the breathing, take your mind back, focus and continue to count the breaths. It is normal to drift away when you first start your practice. You may find this happens a lot to start with but as you get better and you practice more you will find it easier to concentrate without straying. 
     
  • To finish your meditation slowly open your eyes. Stand up slowly and have a good stretch and bring your awareness to the next task. 

It really is that simple to start your meditation practice and you can continue the above for as long as you feel like. 5 minutes or 30 minutes, it’s down to your time constraints and what works for you. 

It may seem like a chore at first but once you feel the benefits and get used to doing it more effectively you should start to look forward to doing it. You should aim to turn it into a habit and do it every day.

WHO ARE TONIQ

TONIQ is Bath’s premium class based group fitness community. 

Our unique holistic approach to health and wellness sets us apart from the rest.

With classes that range from high intensity workouts and strength training to yoga, Qi gong and breathing. Classes are capped in size with two instructors in each session to keep the quality of every class. 

We are currently live and online so join us now!

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Winner of the Bath Life Award 2020