If you are struggling to sleep, have you asked yourself why? Sometimes a bit of self-enquiry can go a long way. Asking yourself these questions could give you some insights and help you to get to the root of the problem. This is a long process and will not happen over night, no pun intended. So perhaps the solution is to take baby steps towards creating a result that will give you a good nights rest that will benefit you in the long run and help you to create a healthier more balanced life.
I still have nights where my mind is racing with thoughts, and the thought loops are never ending. I have a little routine that I have created for myself, which I will share with you below. Perhaps one or all of these things will help you, perhaps they won’t. I guess the point is that a sleep routine, or some sort of tool that you can use to help yourself to get to sleep might help you in your waking life too. As opposed to just laying there, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the fact that you can’t sleep.
Write it down…
My head hits the pillow and my mind is all over the place thinking about the days events, which spirals off into the why’s, what’s and where’s of the day, thinking about the future, the past and then the dreaded, what is my plan for tomorrow (this part can keep me awake for hours), running over every detail of my plans for the following day. One night, after many attempts of using all of my other tools to get to sleep, I pulled out my notebook and wrote down all of the things that I needed to do the following day, closed my notebook, and almost as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell asleep…oh sweet relief. Now, I don’t wait for that thought loop to happen anymore. It has become, not only a way for me to get a good nights sleep, but a way for me to be better prepared for the next day, and feel like I have some sort of control over what is to come, even though my days rarely go according to plan, but that is a discussion for another day.
I started meditation, as a means to sleep, admittedly, like everyone, I was a complete novice when I started, and I simply started with guided meditations. They worked so well for me and I found that most of the time I would wake up in the same position as I fell asleep with my headphones still on my head, well-rested, and ready to take on the day. I would highly recommend guided sleep meditations. Try to find a voice that soothes you, put your headphones on and just do your best to maintain focus on the voice that you hear. You may be pleasantly surprised.
As my initial Yoga journey started with Vinyasa Yoga, my first thought was not to use the practice to sleep, but rather to use the practice to connect to myself on a deeper level. Oh how I was wrong! This connection, helped me in many ways, also a discussion for another time, but the one way it really helped me was with self-enquiry, trying to understand why I was feeling a certain way, experiencing a certain feeling or emotion and feeling certain physical sensations in my body. I know….it sounds so deep right! And we will go into this is in the months to come, but for today I would like to talk about how yoga help me on more of a surface level to sleep. I found that simple poses, like childs pose, with some pillows under my belly, helping me to feel comforted and bring my focus and attention to how I was feeling in that very moment, it would help me to still my mind and feel more relaxed. I even fell asleep in this position a couple of times, and woke up giggling at myself. And then, I discovered the joys of Yin Yoga. A deeply restorative practice, where poses are held for lengthened periods of time, and you get to rest and rejuvenate the body in between each pose with simple stillness, where the body and mind gets a chance to rebalance itself. The first time I tried this practice, it was tough to stay in stillness but as soon as I found a moment to surrender, I was in a state of bliss and have not looked back since. Now, I find myself doing a few Yin Yoga poses before bed and I sleep better than I ever have. I find this practice to be most useful to me in the evenings, as I am starting to wind down from my day and it sets me up for a good nights rest. Check out my Yin Yoga classes here and hopefully this practice will help you as much as it helped me.
I will leave you with this Irish Proverb:
“A good laugh and a long sleep are two of the best cures for anything.”
Love and Light