It is one of the most frustrating things in the world, not being able to get to sleep at night even when you are tired.
As you lie there, tossing and turning, unable to switch your mind off, you wonder if sleep will ever come.
You could barely stay awake for most of the evening, so why is it that you have been in bed for over an hour with no sign of sleep yet?
If this is a regular occurrance for you, then there are probably factors in your life that need to be looked at. Insomnia can have many causes, such as stress, too much caffeine, restless leg syndrome, and more. If you habitually struggle to sleep, then this technique I am about to share will help, but you may need some help to get to the core of your problem.
There are many things that you can do to help you to sleep better. I shall look at these in future posts, but for now I want to give you a simple way to quieten the relentless noise in your mind to enable you to relax and sleep.
Ignore the relentless chatter of the mind
One of the worst problems when you have trouble sleeping is the way that your mind seems to conspire against you. Constantly churning over the same thoughts, reminding you of things you don’t want to remember, catastrophising about things that may never happen, and freaking out about how much time you have got left to sleep, if you fall asleep right now!
If you want to sleep, you have to calm this madness down. You can’t do it through force of will, or by getting angry and anxious, this just makes things worse.
No, like the child having a tantrum because you won’t buy her the 20 toys she wants, the mind, when it is behaving like this, is best ignored! This means we have to find something else to focus on.
Out of mind, into body
When the mind is getting in the way of the wellbeing of the body, we have to use it to beat itself. The best way to do this, and to create the relaxation we so desperately need, is by concentrating out attention elsewhere, enabling us to move away from the chattering noise.
Focusing intently on the breath has many benefits that aid relaxation and sleep. Slowing the breath helps the nervous system to calm, and to slip out of the stress response, into the relaxation response. Lying on your back, focusing on the breath and counting the passage of each breath….IN….2….3….4…5…6…OUT….2….3….4….5….6 is a simple but powerful way to relax.
Relax from your toes to your head
The 22 point relaxation is a powerful way to relax your body completely, and is a great way to relax and ease your body and mind into sleep.
Best done after a few minutes of watching the breath as described above, you take your awareness to your toes, and move through the body in the following order, relaxing the points mentioned along the way
- calves to knee
- base of spine
- pelvic area
- lower arms and elbows
- upper arms and shoulders
- mouth and chin
- nose and cheeks
- back of the ears
- back of the head
- top of the head
- Cavernous Plexus in the middle of the forehead
Assuming you make it through the points, you should feel deeply relaxed by the end of this process, and able to slip into a deep, relaxed sleep.
This video features a recording of me guiding you through this practice, which you might find easier than trying to do it yourself!
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