Do you struggle with your sleep? Are you one of the millions of people who consistently toss and turn at night, only to wake up dog tired as if you didn't sleep a second? If you are, then you are certainly not alone.
Poor sleep seems to be a by-product of modern living. It is hard to still the mind at night, when all we do in the day is rush around from one appointment to the next. No wonder we can't settle for a good night of sleep. In fact, most people who suffer from insomnia and nightmares would agree that nights can drag on forever.
While many of these issues are stress induced, they can be treated with the right approach. For some, this means to work with a professional sleep therapist. I do prefer the natural approach wherever possible and have found that if I abide by certain rules, I seem to sleep much better than if I don't.
For instance, if I work up until I go to bed my mind is usually restless making it hard for me to relax and go to sleep. On the other hand, if I meditate before bed, I tend to fall into a deep sleep fast without lying there for hours on end. Here are some of the things I do and please note, taking a pill isn't one of them!
- Meditate Before Bed Time
Meditation just before bed time is the ideal sleep inducer for me. I find it helps me to calm my mind while keeping me focused. If I tend to worry about something I often find the answer in my meditation quite naturally.
You only need a few minutes to do this. Sit comfortably in a straight backed chair with both feet on the ground. Alternatively you can lie down (make sure to align your body if you do). Now close you eyes and concentrate on your breath. Watch as the breath flows into your body and back out. Follow mentally along on the journey and breath softly all the while.
Don't force your breathing. Also, if thoughts happen to flow into your conscience, allow them and then gently dismiss them. Do this for 5-15 minutes. The more you practice, the easier it will get and the more benefits you will feel.
- Write Down Your Thoughts
Another great way to get rid of all the daily ballast is to keep pen and paper next to your bed and write down anything that comes to mind before you go to sleep. Don't focus on the quality of your writing, just let it flow and empty your mind of all thoughts, regardless how unrelated they seem.
Some people prefer to write into a diary, while others use a normal notepad. Whatever works for you is perfectly fine. Others yet use a gratitude journal. I love this, because it helps me to focus on the positive things in my life, rather than the negatives.
- Gaze Into A Candle For 5 Minutes
Going to bed in candlelight is magical. You will be transformed from the starkness of modern life into the middle ages. It helps to reflect on the day just gone and softens the environment. Light a candle as you get ready for bed and then sit and gaze at the candle for 5 minutes while you gently calm your buzzing mind.
Once your head hits the pillow you will probably sleep very fast. NOTE: do not fall asleep with the candle burning!
- Eat Enough During The Day
Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. If you got to bed on a hungry stomach, you won't be able to sleep well. It is actually rather annoying. To counter this feeling try to eat enough during the day and drink plenty of water to keep your brain cells hydrated.
People with a full tummy (but not too full) sleep much better than those who are starving. Some say that it helps to drink a warm glass of milk with honey before bed. While I liked this idea when I was a kid, I'm not exactly sure whether it really helps or simply tricks of the mind.
- Read A Relaxing Novel
Novels are great to tune out to the world around us. We can forget all about work, family, money and dive into a world of fantasy and fun. I like to read at least half an hour before I go to sleep. It really helps me to switch off my mind.
While watching TV is more stimulating before bed, novels are less aggressive. They further our imagination, helping us to indulge into our adventurous side, all the while knowing we are safely tucked away in bed.