Chances are, stress and anxiety keep you from getting enough sleep. According to this 2016 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three American adults aren’t sleeping enough. And if you aren’t getting at least seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, it’s time to take steps to enjoy peaceful, restorative sleep. One way to do that is with this bedtime smiling practice.

Shelby Wayte is a Holistic Health and Stress Reduction expert for busy women, and she’s come up with a practice she likes to call, “The Smiling, Sleepy Buddha.” Wayte teaches that it can help calm an overactive, worried mind before you fall asleep. It can also help you fall back to sleep if anxious thoughts wake you up.

You can do it right in your own bed, and Wayte says the first step is to lie on your back in Savasana, or Corpse Pose. This is a resting yoga pose where you simply lie on your back and allow your arms and legs to rest gently on the ground. 

Then, allow your face to break into a small, comfortable smile. It shouldn’t feel strained or forced. 

With your soft and gentle smile, turn your attention to your breathing and imagine your diaphragm filling up with air on every inhale, and releasing air with every exhale. 

This smiling practice is effective for two reasons. First, the smile from your physical body can influence your psychology and emotional body, helping your brain relax. 

What’s more, the diaphragm breathing helps to reduce stress by calming the parasympathetic nervous system, and encouraging a state of rest for your entire body. 

With the smiling practice, you’ll soon drift off to sleep and enjoy restorative rest. 

A diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain – not to mention a slew of other negative health issues. So, we replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. After all, these sugar-free alternatives are usually calorie-free. But even though artificial sweeteners aren’t high calories, they can alter the bacteria in your microbiome, and this makes it harder to avoid weight gain.

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