We get a few minutes here, an hour or two there and a few half hours in the middle, with our eyes peeled wide open. Then the loop starts. What am I going to do tomorrow? How am I supposed to work or be Mom? or both!? …when I am exhausted to the bone. It becomes a vicious cycle.
I like to approach sleep much like I would meditation. Sleep is a time when our body reboots. Our systems realign and information is processed and filed away. Our ego has dozed off, out of the way so the subconscious has free reign.
To go through times in our lives when sleep is a luxury is to be human. New moms have to adjust to sleeping in spurts. We may be in a job that interferes with our sleep cycles. But insomnia is a different bird.
Insomnia is a sign of hyper-vigilance. Often, something has happened in our lives to trigger the fear that bad things happen when our eyes are closed. We learned early we must stay alert and aware of our surroundings at all times.
We don’t dare let go and relax… or all hell might break loose.
I know that there are many out there like me who learned to sleep with one eye open. Night was a scary time. How many times were you startled awake when you were growing up? Fighting, partying, doors slamming, yours opening. Sleep was not safe. We had to be alert and aware at all times. So in approaching sleep as an adult, we must honor our story. We must honor the hyper-vigilance it took for you to master this skill. We must honor the stamina that it took to keep the post manned… at all times.
Now we can turn our attention towards today and creating a safe nurturing environment for you to learn to rest. By employing some, and at times, all of the tips I am going to share with you, sleep turned from a battle with my brain to something I actually look forward to. So give yourself three weeks. Leave the “I can’ts” in their crates and allow yourself to discover what it feels like to be rested and nourished. You are in control of your environment. You are in control of what information you take in. You are safe now.
1. First and foremost set the intention.
I enter sleep gracefully. My body knows the perfect amount of time necessary to nourish me. Mind, body and spirit.
2. What’s your story?
When understanding our sleep we have to understand the story around it. Have you created a script? Do you share it with you family and friends? Here is the thing… sharing means you have all of those well meaning people adding to your field of worry. We don’t want that!
Here is how it works: Each thought, each word is magnetized and once free is pulled up into the morphic field of like kind. So say I’m telling people about my sleep issues, these words and emotions rise up and coagulate with all of the other billion thoughts, words and emotions uttered out of frustration over the lack of sleep. So when we step on that train, we not only interact with our frustration but we call on the strength of the cumulated worry.
So be quiet. Let’s strive to keep what goes into the cloud at a minimum.
3. Listen to your body’s rhythms.
In most cases, we don’t appreciate the sleep we do get because we are so worried about the hours we were awake. Have you ever noticed that some nights we get four or five hours of sleep and feel amazing while other nights we get seven or eight and feel like we haven’t slept at all?
Where our attention goes, energy follows.
In our world today, we are shoved into these containers with certain rules and expectations around everything, even sleep. We are programmed to strive to reach that “normal” 8 hour range. What is normal really? Instead, what if we look closely at your personal cycles? If your schedule is permitting working within your natural rhythms is best. If you wake up every day at 4:30, is it possible that if you adjusted and allowed yourself to go to sleep earlier that this could be more productive than staying up until midnight?
I know for myself when I acquiesced to my natural rhythms, I realized that when I get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning when most everyone else is asleep. The airwaves are clear. This is when I write. In allowing myself to fall into this rhythm, I discovered my most productive and creative time of the day was when everyone else was sleeping. 🙂
4. Keep a Gratitude Sleep Journal next to your bed.
Write from the perspective of the sleep we got versus the hours we didn’t.
Where attention goes energy follows.
So if you slept five hours straight, jot down how it felt. When you wake, notice how refreshed you feel. Five hours of good restful sleep is better than eight hours of tossing and turning. We lose the benefit of the stretch of solid sleep when it gets tangled up in the frustration of lack. Remove the numbers from your head. They mean nothing. What is real is how you feel. We want the hours that we are graced with to be nourishing and energizing.
5. Make going to sleep a ritual.
Your sleep space should be just as sacred as your meditation space. Nothing happens in there but sleep. (Well almost nothing… haha.) We are laying down energy. We want your body chemistry to begin to shift by the mere thought.
6. If the night is frustrating get up.
Move to another space. We don’t want the energy of frustration to build in your sleep space. Instead move out into the living room and pick up a book until you get drowsy again. Don’t turn on the TV. We don’t want your brain to interact with that much stimulation.
7. Be aware what information you bring into your environment.
If you choose to watch TV, choose something that will make you laugh. We are winding down here so let’s leave the “shoot ‘em up” action stuff alone for a while while we get this sleep thing under control. We want your brain to reboot not sit and spin all night. Choose to put on some soft music instead and curl up with a book for a time before you head back to your sleep space. Again, with your book choice choose something uplifting and elevating. If you’re going to give your brain something to engage with, make it worthwhile. Let’s put that thriller away for a minute and see what happens.
8. Meditation will keep your brain decluttered.
Give yourself at least 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and the evening to meditate. During meditation we process the loose ends. Meditation can also help to calm your brain to fall asleep. Work with a mantra. The whole point of the mantra is to bring your brain to a singular focus. The goal is to bore your brain into unconsciousness so that we pull into the space of the observer, and we hear the mantra versus say it. You see the difference, to say it is an action. We are just hearing it as if on the wind. It gradually floats further and further away until you don’t need it anymore.
9. Take a siesta.
I love a power nap. Work it in at lunch time. Take 15 to 20 minutes. Close the door to your office or sneak out to your car. Again no “I can’ts”. You can, you just have to teach your body. Be aware what you are taking in to your body prior. We don’t drink a cup of coffee and then try to nap. Start out by doing a guided meditation with the intention of being recharged and energized.
10. Be super aware of what you are ingesting prior to sleep.
Sugar and caffeine… we may say they don’t affect us, but they do. Chocolate has both ladies. That wine that we also love often backfires and throws our eyes open in the middle of the night as well. So I would set that aside for a minute until we get our sleep under control. We can begin to add things back in later. That way we can be clear what sort of effect it is truly having on our rhythms.
For those of you out there that are working around fear and safety, I present the Sacred Circle. I adapted bits and pieces of things I gathered on my journeys. In the beginning it is good to sit quietly. Soon it will be second nature. You will only have to think the thought and it will be there. You can put the circle around your bed at night for safety. You can put it up when you are meditating. You can use the circle with your children. The circle is about you. It aligns you with those spirits, energies and entities, angels, animal and spirit guides who are here to help. The circle only allows those operating from love and your highest and best to interact with you. You are safe! Sign up below to receive this gift.