Are you unable to fall sleep easily at night? Do you find it difficult to wake up in the morning?
In today’s busyness culture we experience information overload and are confronted daily with countless tasks on our to-do lists both in our professional and personal lives. All if which can impact our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
If you haven’t had a restful sleep, trying to remain focused during the day is challenging and can be physically draining on the body over time.
When you climb into bed at night and find your mind flooded with thoughts about what you have to do tomorrow, or obsessing over what you should have done today, you are not alone. You may be tossing and turning and feeling frustrated that you can’t just sleep already!
Instead of following the frustration, try these tips and this simple five-minute meditation to help you switch off and gently guide you into a peaceful slumber.
Create a nighttime ritual:
- Make an effort to disengage from electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. This includes TV, your computer, or texting and talking on the phone.
- While in bed, use this time to read or journal. Keeping a journal to record your thoughts or activities from the day is a great way to unwind. Unsure what to write? Simply write down one thing you are grateful for.
- While lying on your back take note of how your pyjamas and blankets feel on your body. Make small adjustments to feel comfortable.
- Place your arms beside your body with your palms facing up.
- Release your tongue from the tip of your palette and allow it to rest at the bottom of your mouth.
- Take a moment to do an internal scan of your body. Try communicating to one body part at a time beginning with the head and moving down through the shoulders, torso, arms, legs, to your feet and toes.
- Bring awareness to your breath. Imagine your torso is made up of 3 sections where you will send your breath; your lower belly, your rib cage and your upper chest/neck.
- Instead of counting sheep, you’re going to count your breath. For a count of 3, inhale slowly to fill your lower belly for a count of (1), rib cage for (2) and upper chest for (3).
- Pause for a second, then exhale at the same pace to release the breath from the upper chest for a count of (3), rib cage for (2), and lower belly last for (1). Pause again for another second before beginning your next inhale.
- Repeat this process for a few minutes breathing slowly and deeply.
- As you become comfortable with this meditation you may want to try elongating the breath for a count of 4 or 5 or more. Imagine you are filling all the spaces in your body, sending your breath down to your toes and fingertips.
The mind will naturally want to start thinking and will try to pull you away from this practice. Don’t give up if your mind can’t get past the count of 2 the first time. When this happens just start again and continue to count your breath. Over time you will be able to retrain your mind and your body will appreciate the benefits of lowered stress levels that come from deep relaxation.