Are you wide awake when you want to be asleep?
And falling asleep when you want to be awake and alert?
Unfortunately, many folks exist like this all too often.
The first one I like to focus on is sleep. Being sleep deprived affects everything else: your ability to be present, to make good choices, your capacity to feel joy, your response time in difficult situations.
Here are a few things you can do during the day to help you fall asleep and sleep through the night:
- Eat adequate amounts of protein
- Exercise moderately (over-exercise can be experienced as stress and actually contribute to insomnia.)
- Get outside in the daylight, ideally in the morning
- Have your last meal of the day in the late afternoon or early evening.
At night, prepare for sleep:
- Turn off the electronics
- If you mind is full of all the things you did not complete today, make a “to do” list for tomorrow
- Release resentments, anger, irritation that arose during the day, as you are able
- Focus on something that you enjoyed and allow yourself to feel the gratitude for that experience
- Set an intention to practice a life-enhancing quality or activity tomorrow: being more patient, an act of kindness, taking a walk during lunch
- Incubate a dream. Ask your dream-self to
If you have tried all of these and are still having difficulty, here are a few other practices that can enhance your sleep:
- Put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Inhale deeply, allowing your belly to rise under your hand. Exhale, allowing the belly to fall down towards your spine. Do this for several minutes, allowing the exhale to lengthen until it is about twice as long as the inhale. If your mind wants to do something, you can count your breaths, starting over whenever you lose count. Or continuing from wherever you last remember.
- Lie on your back, put the tips of your fingers under your head, at the lower edge of the skull so that they are about 3 inches apart. Put gentle pressure on these points and gently stretch your spine. This can create some “space” and allow you to relax.
- Cross your left ankle over the right. Hold your arms up in front of you, backs of hands together. Cross the right hand over the left, link fingers and the pull tat fist down and inward to your chest. Take several deep breaths.
- If you have nightmares, try to find some daytime space to deal with these issues so that they do not have to take up sleeping time. Things come through in our sleep that we avoid in waking life. If you commit some waking time to your deeper concerns, you may sleep better.
- If you wake at a consistent time, you may have an energetic imbalance. Typical times folks awake are between 1 and 3am or 3 and 5am. According to the Chinese Body Clock, 1 to 3am is liver time, 3 to 5 lung time. Liver time is for processing anger and/or detoxifying. Lung time is for processing grief. If these are consistent issues, perhaps setting some waking time aside to focus on them may allow you more sleep time. (See more about this in a later blog.)