Sleep is a habit
There are certainly enough stressful things right now in our world to keep you awake but, they don’t have to! Every time you tell yourself you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep! It’s not true, everyone sleeps. You may not sleep well, but you definitely CAN sleep. But can you sleep soundly. Yes, you can do that too.
There are many causes of poor sleep habits. Sleep, like eating, is just a habit. We get into a poor sleep habit and then the fear of not being able to sleep prolongs the habit.
Quality sleep can make the difference between a happy or miserable life. Our mind and body require sleep. People who don’t sleep well cannot lose weight, are cranky and feel anxious or depressed.
There are ways to overcome sleep problems without drugs. Relearning to sleep begins with changing your self-talk. Never tell yourself that you can’t sleep! Instead say, ‘I can’t stay awake!’
Tips to Sleep Soundly
(1) Become aware of your internal experience when you are ‘trying’ to sleep. There is an internal dialogue you have with yourself about sleep. You can change it.
(2) Change the fear of not being able to sleep, to confidence that you now know how to relax your mind and body so YOU CAN drift off to sleep.
(3) There are a few things to do before bedtime: First, to begin to clear your mind by writing down everything you need to remember to do for tomorrow.
(4) Go to sleep at a reasonable, consistent time. The best quality of sleep is between 10 PM and 3. Avoid falling asleep in front of the TV on a couch or chair.
(5) As you get into bed, begin by relaxing your body with progressive relaxation. You can use progressive relaxation by tightening a group of muscles for the count of three and then release them. Begin with your feet and calves …tighten them, then, release. Do the same for each area of your body and work your way up your body.
(6) Breathing is important. Begin by taking 3 long, slow, deep breaths ( breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds and exhale for 10) Fear of not sleeping causes adrenaline to make you feel anxious and keep you awake. You will shut off the adrenaline by using slow breaths.
(7) Learn ‘Heart breathing’ by breathing normally, with your focus on your heart, imagine your breath is coming through and around your heart. If your mind begins to wander, refocus by bringing your attention back to your heart. This will begin to clear your mind.
(8) If you’re still not sleeping, create a movie in your mind of a place you’ve been to or saw in a movie, a calm, relaxing place. Explore all aspects of the place using your imagination and relaxing more with each breath. Now your body and mind are relaxed.
(9) Focus again on your heart breathing and think quietly in your mind, with each breath in, ‘sleep’, and each breath out, ‘soundly’.
This exercise should help you drift off to sleep. Sometimes you need help rewiring your brain for sleep, as your stubborn, negative part may get in the way. It’s ok to ask for help when you need it! Sleep is just a habit that can be changed!