One theme we continue to emphasize to all of our patients is to do everything possible to promote the restoration of health and immune strength, especially these days for protection against this viral pandemic & encouraging covid prevention.
The single most important role, in the way of immune empowerment, is played by shifting out of the fight-or-flight mode and into the rest-and-digest mode. So we should never forget that the most powerful promoter of that shift is meditation, which is why it has been practiced with seriousness for thousands of years.
Covid Prevention & Proper Sleep
A rather close relative of meditation is deep and restful sleep. Our “batteries” are made to get effectively recharged by each of those two experiences. These days many people are familiar with the idea of sleep hygiene, which refers to all the things we can do to improve the quality of our sleep.
A good sleep environment entails:
- Darkness. By keeping your room light, you are inhibiting the secretion of melatonin.
- A comfortable bed. Being comfortable may help you fall asleep faster.
- A comfortable room temperature. Your body temperature decreases over night. Having a cool but not cold environment can encourage your body to stay in rest mode.
Be sure to avoid the following:
- Late night stimulation
- Phones & tablets
- Jarring entertainment
So here I would like to describe for your consideration something that I have found to be the single most effective practice for just before sleeping. Meditation.
Covid Prevention & Meditation
If you have ever attended a yoga class, it is likely that you have done a number of poses for stretching, during which you have heard repeated reminders to breathe, followed by the final pose known as Shavasana. It is the practice of lying on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms open upwards. You would also use any cushions or other supports to position your body for the deepest possible relaxation.
My suggestion before bed is to give yourself the gift of a micro-yoga class.
Begin with gentle stretching. Use no more than one preferred position. My own choice is to sit on a floor cushion with legs folded. That way I feel not only the gentle stretching of my legs, but also the grounding sensation of my weight settled onto the cushion.
Lay in the Shavasana pose. You can do it right on your bed. Rather than having your head on a pillow, you would place something soft and cylindrical like a rolled up towel beneath your neck, while allowing your head to rest on the bed. A larger cylinder, such as a rolled up sleeping bag, may be placed under your knees, allowing them to open and relax out to the sides.
Don’t forget to breathe. The suggestion is to breathe into a soft belly that rises with each breath in. Also, it is valuable to use counting in your mind to regulate the timing of your breathing. The amount of time exhaling should be greater than that of inhaling. You might try two counts of inhaling to four, six, or more of exhaling. You may also insert a short period of stillness after exhaling before inhaling. Any variation on this theme will serve you well, both as an effective meditation in itself, as well as an introduction to deep sleep.
If you or a loved one are looking to improve your immune system and create a path to wellness, please give us a call at (615)373-0555 to make an appointment.