I have been plagued by the lack of sleep for most of my working life. What is it about sleep that means so much to me? I remember blaming sleep for my lack of clarity, focus and memory whilst I was being curt at Peter for being Peter. I used to get grumpy because I did not get enough sleep, not because I was grumpy from lack of sleep. There is a difference. I eventually let go of my fascination for sleep when I learnt that I could choose to shift my thinking and accept my tired mind. I learnt that when I let go of the frustration of lying in bed with my grumpiness, that sleep came. Knowing too that self-care would be amped-up the next day.
If you are still struggling with sleep once you give up struggling, what is your body saying?
Sleep is needed for basic health reasons (like tissue repair, memory recall, immune response) but my sleep is needed for my vanity and to be my best self. Revitalised sleep is gained by cycling through the five sleep stages. Give me the prescription now I can hear.
An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body
– Dr.Edmund Jacobson
In this post I am sharing with you three practices that can be done in bed to help you get through a sleepless night and to relax the body. Whilst these practices will support your health and well-being they will also increase creativity and problem solving. The key purpose of these practices is to evoke the relaxation response and settle a stimulated mind.
If the body is relaxed the mind will follow
Counting the Breath
Counting each breath cycle from 1 – 10 and then back from 10 – 1. A breath cycle is an inhale breath followed by an exhale breath. When you find you have lost count or got distracted start the practice again. Continue counting back and forth until you fall asleep.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Tighten each muscle group without straining for 5-10 seconds. Then release and completely relax the muscle group for 10-20 seconds. Suggest muscle group order start at feet then progress slowly up the body to lower and upper legs, buttocks, pelvis, belly, chest, lower and upper back, fingers, arms, shoulders, scalp, forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and jaw.
Starting at the feet bring your attention to the toes. Begin exploring and sensing the toes. Not thinking about the toes, rather feeling into the sensations of the toes. If there is no sensation present keep your focus for a few moments on the toes without any judgments, then move on to the next body part of your attention, working your way up the body.