8 Nightly Steps to Natural Sleep
When your mind is filled with thoughts, when your feelings are jumbling inside of you, sleep avoids you.
Why? Because, by its nature, sleep is a mindless activity.
If you’re a parent, you know that the last thing you want before putting the kids to bed is to have someone start playing roughly with them. You do not want your child to be running in circles, playing chase and screeching joyfully.
All that fun just before bed amps up their energy and keeps them… and you… awake.
Bed time for children is best with a ritual. The ritual is a subconscious cue for the body and mind to begin relaxing so that the child can gently drift into dreamland.
To enter into your own nightly dreamland, form your personal sleep routine.
Return to an evening practice you would use to quiet a child.
Step 1: Set a consistent bedtime that allows your brain and body the 7-9 hours of nightly rest it needs.
Yes, your body needs that time of repose to regenerate itself. You will function better in every area of your life… mentally, emotionally and physically.
Step 2: Turn off the television, radio talk shows and invigorating music 30 minutes before you turn in. This eliminates the outside stimulation that keeps your mind from moving into a place where deep slumber can occur.
Step 3: Take a warm bath or shower. Afterwards, as your body cools down, your muscles continue to relax. The cares of the day drift away.
Step 4: If you need to read be sure it is boring. This is not the time for a Dan Brown page turner. Read a technical journal or book in your field.
Step 5: Before you get into bed, stretch your arms as far as possible above your head. Yawn in an exaggerated manner while doing so. Gently lean down and touch your toes… or go as far as you can.
Step 6: Get into bed and allow your body to settle in. Stretch your legs as far as possible, then release.
Step 7: Take several deep and cleansing breaths.
Step 8: Close your eyes and bring to mind a peaceful and restful nature scene. Smell the air, see the colors, feel the textures, hear the sounds and taste something there in your scene. None of it has to be based in reality. You can have a butler show up with your favorite drink in the wilds if you want.
If you follow these steps, or your own adaptations, every night before you go to bed, your body will begin to respond to the cues. It’s similar to a dog beginning to salivate when she hears the can opener. In your case, the result is the body and mind beginning to unwind and prepare itself for a night of peaceful slumber.