The Magic of Better Sleep

The Magic of Better Sleep Christina Holopainen, Maruia River Retreat

This summer, all guests will sleep on Hyoumankind Go Pillows with silk pillowcases when they stay at Maruia River Retreat, so we thought we'd re-share a few practical tips from Cristina, yoga teacher and owner, to optimise and experience the magic of better sleep.

The magic of better sleep

If there’s one thing to address that can make the healthiest impact in your life in these times, it’s getting better sleep.  The quality of your sleep determines your mood, energy levels and more importantly, your ability to function with a sharp mind and limber body for the work day ahead.

It can be a challenge to manage the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep for adults, especially in these extraordinary times but there a few practical things you can do to improve little by little the quality of your everyday sleep.

1. Create a simple and soothing bedtime ritual

Set aside 30-minutes before your usual bedtime to set up your sleeping space. Find enjoyment in setting up your bedroom with sensory pleasures. Some examples are having fresh and clean sheets; releasing essential oils or lavender mist sprays into your room; dimming the lights to a low level brightness; and eliminating any loud sounds or playing relaxing music. Develop these into regular rituals to create an inviting environment for pleasurable and deep sleep.

2. Find your optimal sleeping position with the helpful of pillows, blankets and other props.

Choose the right props for your sleep - pillows, blankets, and even side pillows to hug and cuddle with. Choose those that provide you with a tactile feel that will be conducive to relaxation and rest. The ideal sleeping positions are on your back or on your side (so your neck is not cranked to one side nor are your lungs restricted by sleeping on your chest). If you sleep on your side, support yourself with a head pillow that allows for room in your shoulders. You can add pillows to hug between legs and arms for space to allow for expansion even while the body collapses to rest. If you sleep on your back, you can add pillows on both sides of your waist and even under your knees for snug and lower back release.

3. Know the effects of stimulants to your sleep schedule. 

Studies have shown that caffeine would have anywhere from 9-12 hours of stimulation and wakefulness. So if you intend to get to bed at 10pm, work the hours back which would mean you should have your last cup of coffee at 10am so you can ease yourself into the night. Observe your own alertness and wakefulness with alcohol and caffeine and make adjustments according to how it affects you.

4. Set aside time for soothing breaks during your day.

Take mini-breaks during the day, especially as you wind down your day. A 20-minute nap could help bring back energy levels and calm your temperament and you can add a restorative practice and breath work at the end of your day to signal the start of relaxation into your evening ahead.

5. Develop a daily rhythm - movement and exercise is key during your waking hours. 
Exercise, move and realign your activities during your wakeful and alert hours of the day. The body will want to move and express itself throughout the day so that it can release any unwanted and excess energy , which will make it easier to induce rest and relaxation. The trick is to get the body to know when it is time to be awake and alert and when it is time to rest, release and recover.


The Magic of Better Sleep Workshop is included in the upcoming EAT. SLEEP. YOGA. LOVE. retreat on 3 - 6 March 2022 and 28 April - 1 May 2022.

The workshop covers the understanding of the science of sleep with practical applications from preparing for sleep to optimal sleeping positions for a true night’s healing rest and creating your sleep schedule.  This session includes a lecture, hand-outs, an easy-to-learn restorative practice to manage your energy levels during your day. 

The first 5 villas booked will receive a Hyoumankind Go Pillow with Travel Bag for the Summer edition of EAT. SLEEP. YOGA. Retreat. Read more here.

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