Wednesday, May 14, 2008
For as long as I can remember, my mother has had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep until morning. She would invariably wake up feeling stressed and then wound up staring at the ceiling or tossing and turning for the rest of the night only to "wake up" feeling more tired than when she put her head on the pillow. When she started her passage through menopause she found that the nightly hot flashes were only aggravating the existing problems.
Determined to help my mother through such hardship, I set out to find ways to help her fall asleep and stay asleep. I tested some of the techniques on myself when I was feeling particularly stressed in my own life. Below is a description of each and how these have helped both my mother and I to overcome sleeping problems and to wake up feeling rejuvenated and like a billionaire woman!
1. Write down all your worries: The major problem that we have when going to bed is the constant re-thinking of the day’s events. We see everything that happened during the day in our mind’s eye and we obsess over the mistakes we made and criticize ourselves. We also start thinking of the coming day and the monstrous list of things that we have yet to accomplish. By sitting down and writing out exactly what it is that you are worried about, either what happened recently or what you fear might happen later, you clear your mind. You say goodbye to the inner chatter and you leave space for yourself and the present moment.
2. Write down everything you are grateful for: The act of listing 10 or more items that you are grateful for is a simple one. You might think that it doesn’t have much of an impact on your sleep, but the truth is that it will not only allow you to fall asleep feeling relaxed and uplifted, but it will also shift your life in so many ways. By focusing on what you are grateful for and thankful for in your life, you remind yourself what makes you happy and that sometimes the things you think you need aren’t that important.
3. Meditate calmly for 15 minutes: Meditation might not be something that appeals to you, but simply sitting quietly on the edge of your bed for 5 to 15 minutes before you go to bed will quickly convince you otherwise. The fastest way to meditate is simply to sit comfortably and focus on the coming and going of your breath. You might find that your mind wanders from your breath, but choosing to refocus yourself without any abrupt movements can help you a great deal. I have used this technique on numerous occasions and it definitely helps me fall asleep. It is especially effective after doing the previous two steps.
4. Go to bed only when you’re truly tired: This one is tough for me as it must be for others as well. We tend to go to bed too early when we have not yet spent ourselves and to force ourselves to stay up late when we are involved in something exciting. This leaves our body confused about when it should sleep. Our bodies are very smart and when they need sleep yet cannot have it on some nights, and when they received too much on other nights we might be confusing it. Try listening to your body to decide when to go to bed. If you always go to bed at the same time each night just go quietly to your room at your usual time and perform the above steps and see if you want to read quietly instead of sleeping right away. Other nights you might need to retire earlier by shutting off the computer and the television.
Hopefully these tips will help you to make the most of your nights, without worrying about the possibility of waking up in the middle of the night.
This article was written by Nathalie Lussier and you can get more tips to improve your life by subscribing to her Billionaire Woman weblog.