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Wherever you live, you have an amazing piece of spa equipment that you can use to stretch, relax, calm your mind, and focus your energy. It’s your bed. After all, this is where you start each day and end each evening. Why not make it work for you?
“A morning routine gets your day going, while an evening ritual helps you relax,” says Nicole Finley, M.D., a physician at Canyon Ranch spa in Tucson, Arizona. Instead of bolting out of bed each morning (perhaps to the jarring news of the world), pushing the button on the coffee machine, and then opening your eyes, create a morning routine that awakens your body and opens your mind. In the evening, a slightly different routine can help you relax and sleep better.
A good morning begins with a good night’s sleep the night before. Sleep researchers talk about “sleep hygiene” – making sure your environment is conducive for sleep. Often this advice is framed with negatives: Don’t use your bedroom for anything but sex and sleep. Don’t watch TV, look at email, stare at bright screens. That’s all true. But you can also do some positive things to help you relax. Dr. Finley recommends:
Surprisingly, a healthy morning routine in bed doesn’t need to be that different from a healthy evening one. Deep breathing, stretches, even meditation are great ways to gently bring focus your attention on the new morning. If lavender aromas relax you in the evening, the scent of jasmine can be energizing in the morning. “When you wake up, you’re setting your attention,” says Dr. Finley. “You may want to read something positive, a book or something you’ve written.”
Turn on some music you like. The news can wait. While you’re lying in bed, breathing deeply and stretching, there’s no harm if the music gets you shimmying. You can do the same bed stretches as you do the night before, but now you may want to slip your feet to the floor and sit up in bed while you do them.
One Woman’s Way
For freelance health writer Mary Bolster, former executive editor of Yoga Journal, the morning and evening routines are pretty similar. “The things I do before getting out of bed, or before going to sleep, work for me—either time of the day,” she says.
She suggests a few yoga-ish moves:
Mary also likes to start (and end) each day in bed practicing gratitude. “Resting in bed and practicing gratitude is a great way to start the day,” she says. She lies in bed and enumerates things that she is grateful for.
She starts with this one: “I woke up this morning.”
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