ON GROWING SLEEP
Getting to sleep has become a large problem in our society. We are too busy fighting with the weeds of our day to slow down and plant the proper seeds for relaxation in our daily garden of “doing things” and then wonder why sleep eludes us. Sleep is what our body uses as our time for healing and restoration.
We should be sleeping for about 1/3rd of our lives. Deep, good quality sleep allows our natural pharmacopeia to release the chemicals inherent in us that keep us operating at peak efficiency. Without the proper amount and types of sleep, we become fuzzy brained, scattered, tired and ill. Now some of you would argue that there are pills to help with getting to sleep, but, sleep should be blissful, silent and deep enough for a dream state to be invoked. In our search for this type of sleep we often sabotage our efforts without realizing it.
The most frequent reasons the dream state is not reached are 1) tranquilizers, 2) sleeping pills, and 3) alcohol.
Consider the fact that our bodies are already equipped with all the appropriate chemicals and in the proper dosages for each person to function as they should in this (and all areas of life), why mess with that? Let us look at some lifestyle changes that we can cultivate in order to access our natural ability to sleep.
Seed one) Have a light supper 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed. Have a set bed time and stick to it. Give yourself at LEAST 30 min. quiet time before bed. Stop doing what ever you were doing and turn off everything noisy. Lower the lights, if you wear glasses, take them off and let go of your day and sink into the quiet. Let the thoughts that bedevil you stay just long enough for you to say "listening" 3 times (a Buddhist thingy) after you speak, let go of the thought. If it is a "to do thing", write it down on paper so your mind can let it go. Next, start with ether your head or feet (different for different folks-try both to see where you land) and tense up all the muscles in what ever area your working with, let them relax and move to the next group. For instance; feet; tense, relax move. Calves; tense, relax, move. Thighs and so on working your way up your body (or down as your case may be), you get the picture. When you get to your head do your face, jaws, scalp, anything you can to stretch the muscles and relax them. Feel the difference in your tension level, it will be lower and relaxation will be in your reach. You can do this as many times as you wish.
Seed two) This one I learned from a friend of mine, Geo Clark and he calls it pyramid breathing; focus all attention on your breathing, inhale, hold 1, exhale. Inhale, hold 2, and exhale. And so on, do this all the way to 10 then come back down to 1. Somewhere in there you will fall asleep. Let me know how you manage. Another breathing technique is inhale deeply through the nose and then exhale, through the nose in little puffs like blowing out a candle. Do this about 20 reps as a relaxation aid.
Seed three) Again quiet the room and lower the lights. If you have you have quiet relaxing music or guided meditation on CD you may wish to use them to help you become quiet. An aroma therapy candle (burned in a safe dish) or an essential oil or herbal relaxation aromas such as saffron or lavender can aid in easing you into a more relaxed state. Warm some milk with a touch of saffron or nutmeg, poppy seed or, if you prefer 1 Tablespoon gotacola in 1 cup water for tea.
Seed four) understand that different people require different amounts of sleep so find out what is best for you and make it part of your healthy, daily lifestyle. Mix and match the different ideas and techniques to find out your best formula and know that sometimes it will change. Don’t stress over it, just let it happen as you practice the suggestions I have laid out here (and there are others out there just a little research will bring them to light) and you will find that your sleep garden will grow better results in your waking life and your efforts will bloom brightly.
Bright Blessings, Chessie
©Chessie Roberts 2010 all rights reserved