Do you sleep that delicious deep restorative sleep?
I invite you to take just a few moments to imagine spending a whole week at a luxury spa – somewhere far away from the busyness of your day to day life – somewhere warm, tranquil and healing.
- Every day you have some sort of gentle exercise – maybe you choose to have a relaxing swim or a walk on the beach
- You sit under the trees eating your healthy nutritious meals – lovingly prepared for you
- In the evening, a few hours before bed, you have a relaxing bath
Maybe after your bath you choose to sit outside and listen to the last of the bird song and watch the sun set.
Or you might choose to listen to gentle music, or perhaps you go to bed and enjoy the luxury of reading or even listening to a bedtime story.
Then feeling delightfully tired, you switch off the light and drift into a deep restorative sleep.
Every day you notice how much better you feel in your body, your mind and your soul, as you continue to sleep deeply and nourish your body with healthy food and exercise.
By the time this week comes to an end you feel rested, restored and grateful.
As you travel home, the question on your mind is how to bring this quality of sleep and self care into your life on a daily basis?
So how do we continue to enjoy this depth of sleep? What is it that we need to do every evening to ensure we sleep deeply?
From my experience working with people and helping them to sleep well again, I so often see that sleeping well comes back to our daily practices and rituals.
When we study people who sleep well, and see what they do, the large majority have a daily practice or ritual – even though they might not call it that.
They all practice a pre-bedtime relaxation ritual
Time and time again when I have interviewed people who sleep well, almost every person, though they might work really long and hard days, know that they have to switch off from work, and from computers and screens. They take this important time before bed to stop and relax and be still. Without taking this time, they almost all say that they don’t sleep as well.
Most people in the west however have forgotten this art of stillness
Instead they rush around all day busy ticking things off from their to-do list. At the end of the day they throw themselves into bed exhausted. However, despite being so tired they often just can’t sleep, and instead toss and turn until the early hours continuing their pattern of insomnia… until they decide to do something different.
What does this different way look like?
When you look at the brainwave pattern of sleep you will notice that it is much slower than the brainwave pattern of normal waking consciousness.
This of course means that to sleep you need to slow down your mind, and to sleep deeply your brain waves need to slow down even further.
Try this relaxation ritual
Start by taking yourself back to your imaginary spa. Imagine what it felt like, looked like and maybe even sounded like when you went through your relaxation ritual each night. By bringing this simple routine into your life as a daily practice, you’re allowing your body, mind and soul precious and important time to be still and calm before switching off your light and drifting into the slower brain wave pattern of level 1, level 2 and then the deeper sleep of level 3 and 4.
Of course it’s all about a daily practice
“Sleep is the most important meditation”
The Dalai Lama
Dr Caroline Wheeler works as an integrative medical doctor in Auckland, New Zealand.
She helps people with insomnia to slow down their busy minds, by listening to her reading them a bedtime story.
As you listen to her voice, which is soporific and almost hypnotic, you focus on the story instead of listening to your own busy thoughts, and with practice, can train your mind to relax, slow down and drift into a deep sleep.
For more information visit http://thesleepkit.com
Here’s a free gift to try for yourself – a short story “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde http://thesleepkit.com/neals-yard-free-gift/