Getting the sleep we need

Sleep is not only something our bodies need but our minds too. When we go through a patch of not sleeping well due to a change in life like a new baby comes into the house, a period of more stress or our bodies are changing and hormones are all over the place or a variety of other reason, we are left feeling fatigued, more stressed and possibly depressed. Some of us can suffer from longer-term sleep disorders that cause insomnia such as an illness or emotional and mental stresses. Whichever the cause, we are left feeling bad and desperate for that good night’s sleep so we feel rested and refreshed the next day. 

When I was going through a patch of waking up at night and having difficulty getting back to sleep or sleeping through the night, I made a decision to change what I could to give myself the best chance of getting that precious sleep my body and mind required. 

I was already meditating regularly on my own, when I started to attend Mandy’s True Rest meditation class late in the evening and noticed how easily I melted into sleep that night and stayed asleep. This led to one of those ‘aha’ moments. I could use a guided sleep meditation as I went to bed or even if I woke up at night and couldn’t get back to sleep and there’s some research to back this up. [1]

Tips to help

Here is a strategy to help overcome sleeping problems when they arise in your life:

1. Use a guided sleep meditation. The purpose of a sleep meditation in comparison to other forms of meditation is to relax your body which then allows the mind to gently relax. You are activating your parasympathetic nervous system which leads to the relaxed feeling and de-activating your sympathetic nervous system or your fight, flight or freeze system. The thoughts about what you didn’t get done and /or what you need to get done fade into the background and even if they don’t, the intensity of them decreases. A soft, soothing voice can help you feel safe and held as you are guided to let go of another layer. Sleep is the outcome of the guided meditation and normally happens before it ends. They can also be used if you wake in the night and cannot get back to sleep. 

2. Bring a daily meditation practice into your life. Five, ten or more minutes a day brings long-term results to reduce stress and anxiety. This goes a long way in releasing mental, physical and emotional tension to let your body rest during sleep. The commitment is worth it. 

3. Practice good sleep habits or also called good sleep hygiene. This includes getting to bed at the same time each night and waking the same time. Avoid too many or too long of naps. Take care of yourself with drinking less alcohol, smoke less or don’t smoke. Drink the recommended amount of 6-8 glasses of water daily and pay attention to what you eat and when, don’t eat or drink close to bedtime. Cut your screen time out from the bed and stop watching the screens 30 – 45 minutes before bedtime. Don’t read or take care of your emails in bed. Keep your bed for sleeping and intimacy.

I find all of these tips help me sleep through the night or to adjust my body back to sleep when it wants to stay awake. I’ve learned over the years to make it a routine. My getting ready to sleep routine has increased from just washing up and putting on sleepwear but it all helps.

May your nights be restful!

With gratitude, Theresa 

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