5 Tips to Sleep Like a Baby!
Are you one of the 70 million adults in this country who thrashes around in bed sometime between 11 pm and 4 am, wide-eyed and desperate? Some folks can’t fall asleep and other can’t stay asleep. What is it that has so many of spending precious sack-time in torment?
Oh what a busy world we live in! TV, news, cyberspace, cell-phones, all have increased our capacity to take in, and put out information. Our minds become super stimulated and quickly over loaded. And, my, how prone we are to worrying! How can this activity be expected to slow down immediately when our head touches the pillow?
The ancient yogis have offered several simple and terrific tools to help bring a hyperactive mind into balance.
1. Create a bedtime ritual, something you do every night and that begins an hour before you actually lie down. This could be a soothing cup of chamomile tea, tidying and closing down the house, a soak in the bathtub, a foot massage with lovely lotion. Your feet will love to receive a fragrant emulsifying rub down.
2. Breathe! Notice your breathing as you move through your ritual. Make sure you breathe more deeply and slowly as you soak in the tub or caress your feet. This kind of breathing immediately sends reassuring messages of safety and comfort to the deeper levels of your brain.
3. Daily exercise. How you sleep is related to how you spent your day. We absolutely need to move the body regularly in some form of exercise. Yoga is a superb form of movement for those of us in the second half of life. Take up yoga and you will greatly improve your quality sleep.
4. Visualize. Once in bed, tell yourself that you are about to sleep very deeply and long. See yourself awaken at the desired time, feeling refreshed. This is very clarifying to your unconscious and more constructive than mulling around your worries. Then go back to your breath, saying “breath comes in, breath goes out” over and over again, slow and easy.
5. If you are still not falling asleep, try defragmenting the day in your mind: Just as your computer needs to be cleared of extra information periodically, so does your mind. Once snug in bed, mentally, see yourself 30 minutes ago. Take a mental snapshot of that moment: Where were you and what were you doing? Get the details of fact, feelings and sensations, and then quickly move on to the prior 30 minute situation. Get a glimpse of that moment, without getting into a long rumination of it, just a snapshot, and move on again. You mentally move backwards through your completed day at 30 minute intervals. Keep at it, even if you go off track. Importantly, make sure you don’t make it a slow-motion replay or get involved in re-scripting what happened or what was said! This is powerful way to occupy your mind. Most likely you will not get to the moment you awoke that day.