I’m generally great at the getting to sleep thing. I work long, active days and crawl happily into bed with a book about the same time that most folks are curling up to the glow of their nightly netflix. I rarely make it past a paragraph or two when I float off.
But, every now and then I have a bit of a challenge settling in. This is most likely to happen when I work late. Heading to bed a bit wound up, over-stimulated, is usually a formula for wendy-wide-eyed-ness well into the night. Or, when I am time-crunched and have difficulty finding the off button to my brain, you know, busy saving the planet, rehashing yesterday’s conversation, or planning tomorrow when today is right here and happy to be my lullaby.
I work early (early!) mornings . It is so important to my good health, my relationships, and my work that I be able to turn off my busy monkey mind when I go to bed. When my alarm rings, somewhere between 3:25am and 4:30am, depending on the day, I want to be springing happy, curious and excited into my day.
What to do then.
There are some yoga poses which help me settle at night. In particular, viparita karani, legs up wall pose, calms anxieties and rests sore and tired feet and legs. Done before bedtime, this pose can contribute to a great night’s rest. You can find a lovely viparita karani instruction here.
Beyond a single pose, a yoga series can also assist with achieving a good night’s sleep. One of my fave youtube yogis is Sadie Nardini. She has a lovely, well taught, explicit sleep flow which is easy to follow along with and to learn. Check out Sadie’s video on yoga for sleep, insomnia or deep relaxation:
I’d have to say that the simplest, most graceful and expedient way I have of drifting happily off when my neurological systems is high-firing is meditation. Particularly meditation where I focus on breath.
Try it, adapting these easy steps to your own needs:
- Lie in a comfy position in your bed; close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath. Gradually allow your breathing to become deeper and slower, finding the perfect rhythm.
- Imagine filling your body with clean, healing air each time you breathe. Allow each inhale to carry calming oxygen to every part of your body. Get a visual, if you can, of this pure, healthful air moving through your body.
- With each exhale allow stress and tension to flow out of your body. Release the stale and the stagnant, using your breath to cleanse toxins from your body. Imagine your exhale happening through every single pore of your body and the toxins dissolving into space.
- Continue following your breath. Exhale and feel cleansed, inhale and experience calm. Allow this rhythm to be part of your phenomenal experience without putting words or labels on what you are doing and what you are feeling.
- When you notice thoughts, acknowledge that you’ve been thinking and return your attention to your breath.
- Stay with your breath, experiencing the increasing lightness and relaxation, until you fall asleep.
Lullaby and good night, may sweet softness surround you.