Does clearing the mind and counting sheep as we fall asleep actually help us get those recommended seven hours of nightly Z’s?

According to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. If you have tossed and turned the night away, Kat Tudor, co-founder and creative director of Manitou Springs’ Sun Water Spa, believes that clearing the mind of everyday stress and worries through meditation, is the perfect way to end the day, and a natural way to promote sleep. Just 20 minutes of peaceful meditation and silence takes you into the stillness of yourself, setting the stage for a good nights’ sleep. Finding a quiet place in your home, free from electronics and boisterous family members, where you can close your eyes and visualize calm is essential.

Hectic day? Nothing de-stresses like the healing hands of a masseuse. “Sun Water’s ‘Breath of Life’ is a favorite of mine,” says Tudor. “Drawing on the healing properties of laurel leaf, eucalyptus and lemon, the masseuse takes you to a place of deep relaxation as your whole body enjoys increased circulation and oxygenation.” If a spa visit isn’t in the cards, try an at-home massage, which can be particularly effective for your neck, shoulders, feet and hands. Start by applying healing oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus, to dry skin. For the neck and shoulders, using your fingers, make small circular motions. A foot and hand massage both begin by pressing each between your thumb and fingers. Massage with your thumb, applying pressure as needed.

Still tossing and turning? Sleep experts recommend:

  • Eliminating caffeine and spicy foods before bedtime
  • Participating in aerobic exercise at least 4 times each week, ending 2 hours before bedtime
  • Eating a light dinner, on the early side
  • Eliminating smoking
  • Restricting cocktails, particularly near bedtime
  • Creating a sleep friendly environment–a darkened room with a temperature around 65 degrees
  • Creating an electronics free zone, as studies have shown that the light from the phone and iPad stimulate the brain.

By gradually adding sleep-enhancing techniques to your daily routine, those restless nights will become a distant memory, replaced by peaceful dreams and energetic mornings.

kat tudorKat Tudor is the creative director and co-owner at the new SunWater Spa and Healing Arts Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado. An innovative yoga practitioner and instructor, her unique and creative yoga draws on her art and dance background and extensive training, to transform the mind, body and spirit.