One of the most important things we can do for our health and wellness is to get a good night’s rest. That said, there are so many people, (me included) that cannot seem to make that happen. Often we are plagued with endless internal conversations, and non-productive mind chatter that rambles on and on the moment we attempt to lay our head to rest.
“Are the kids alright?” “I can’t believe that happened today”
On and on it goes. Oh dear God make it stop! Or even worse, we immediately fall asleep but then like clockwork (yes, pun intended) we wake up at 3:00am with our brains pumping out random thoughts like the Energizer Bunny on steroids.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges that sleep deprivation is becoming a public health hazard because of the increased links to “motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to these hazardous outcomes. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.” Yikes! Dear God send me the Sand Man now!
In order to do our best to create a good solid platform for health and wellness we must do our best to get sleep back in control and tucked tightly in for the night.
While I wish I could tell you I have a miracle technique for you to use and that it would 100% shut you off so you could up your sleeping game I can’t. I can tell you that I have found a few simple tasks done in a particular sequence to be very powerful and useful to me, so I’d like to share them with you. Most nights I am able to fall fast asleep and stay asleep. (Except on those rare occasions where Mamma Bear sits up all night worrying about her Little Bear Cubs who apparently are out whooping up the town).
Here are 4 steps I use to get a better night’s sleep:
WRITE DOWN THE EVENTS OF YOUR DAY
By doing this task first, you will start to put your worries to bed. Here are the 5 questions I answer each night with the intention that I am emptying my mind of all the unresolved issues. I also like to acknowledge the positive aspects of the day and end it with a blessing.
- List the people I had supportive positive interactions with.
- List the people I had challenging negative interactions with.
- Identify any situations that were challenging.
- List the things I feel are unresolved.
- List some possible solutions for the unresolved situations.
Prayer: In gratitude I complete this day knowing I did the best I could. Tomorrow is a new beginning. I open my heart, my mind and my soul and welcome all the goodness it will bring.
TAKE A SHOWER
This serves several different purposes. First, it addresses your physical body by putting you in a more relaxed state. Warm soothing water running over your body begins to facilitate the relaxation response. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to feel that ‘let down’ sensation. Second, it allows to you start to ‘wash the day off’ energetically. We are all energetic beings and believe me when I say we bring a lot of everybody home with us. Lighten your load by imagining all of the interactions throughout your day running off the top of your head, down your neck, off your arms and out your fingertips. As it continues down your chest feel all remaining negative energy flowing down your legs and through your feet down the drain.
This third step really helps put me into a peaceful frame of mind. It doesn’t have to take long, it should just be uninterrupted time.
Sit in a comfortable chair, or if you choose, sit comfortably on your bed. Start by taking one deep breath. Slowly in, slowly out. Depending on the type of day I’ve had, I will average between 3 to 6 deep breaths. Really bad days get 6 or more; average to happy days get a minimum of three. The idea is to really expand your lungs, not just your chest. True deep breathing will expand your rib cage outward because you are filling up your lungs by activating your diaphragm. Imagine the inhaled air going all the way to the bottom of your lungs. With every exhale release any residual thoughts, feeling, anxiety or mind chatter. Every inhale brings in peace.
GROUND YOUR ENERGY
Now that I’m comfortably relaxed I want to ground my energy for the night. This doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process to work. Intention + Quick Thought = Results.
First, I begin by imagining that there is a big tree root coming from the base of my spine and it travels all the way into the center of the earth; branching out as it travels farther and farther down.
Second, I imagine that a beam of light that comes down from the heavens and it shines into the top of my head. It continues to shine through my body all the way down into that ‘root’ system. Once I feel that root system has been completely filled up, I know I’m grounded.
On average, I spend 30 minutes doing these four steps. It seems to be time well spent for me. I know this won’t solve everyone’s sleep issues, but if it helps at least one more person then I’m glad I shared it. As I see it, one more rested person, spreads one more smile that will ultimately affect multiple other people; therefore it stands to reason…it’s a good thing.