If you struggle to sleep at night then this blog is for you. Sleeping well becomes a simple process once you understand how to attune yourself to your bodies natural sleeping pattern. Below I share my own struggles to sleep and the solutions I found arising out of this struggle.
When I researched the internet for tips on sleeping, most of them seemed to focus on external factors like, for example, changing the food and drinks you take, not taking a nap or kicking your wife or husband out of the bedroom for snoring. With me, however, the problem was nearly always internal. I’d be lying in the bed and…
I would start thinking about the day. One thought would lead to another and before I knew it the family, my work and the world situations were all in the bed beside me and I lay wide awake. I knew I had to start from within.
I first tried to direct my thoughts to pleasant and serene locations but then a remembered slight would resurface and within seconds I was planning revenge on my enemies. Wide awake!
Next I decided to stop thinking altogether and empty my mind. This presumed, of course, that I was master of my own thoughts. Well, I was quickly dis-invested of this little conceit when my mind started a long rumination on the pros and cons of having an empty mind and how easy or difficult it would be to achieve it. Wide awake!!
OK. I threw in the towel and sought help. The first port of call was an instructor on meditation. I was given my own mantra and instructed on how to better relate to my wandering mind. Give up efforts to control it and strike a detached, observing stance. If I notice that I am following the thoughts, then gently let them go and return to the mantra.
I followed this up with readings on relaxation techniques and exercises that helped me to gradually become more attuned to my body – its rhythms and fluctuations. This produced a shift in the relationship. I became less the master and more curious pupil.
I began to notice that, left to its own devices, my body knew exactly when and how to eat, rest, be active and, importantly, sleep. I learned that sleeping involves a four stage process, moving from quiet wakefulness at stage 1, through slow wave sleep, ending with REM sleep — the stage when we dream. The beginning was usually where I experienced difficulties especially on nights when I took unfinished business to bed with me. There I was, working at finishing off my wife with a compelling counter argument and, in the process, sabotaging what my body was trying to do. It was gently winding down internal processes and there I was flooding my system with adrenaline as I was mentally preparing for ‘fight or flight’.
So, I made up my mind to use my new resources and I established a nightly internal routine. When my thoughts began to race I mentally stepped back and gently but firmly reminded myself that my current task was not to sort out the world’s problems (that could wait until tomorrow) but rather to sleep. I then began the task of checking out where any tension points were and relaxing them, thereby allying myself with my body’s natural preparations. Finally I begin to repeat my mantra internally and, almost without fail, I drifted off to sleep in no time. The more I practiced the routine the easier and more effective it became, always producing a good night’s sleep.
Please feel free to use any or all of the tips above if they sound helpful. Pleasant dreams!
If you experience severe difficulties in getting to sleep, it’s useful to know that it may be a sign of unresolved trauma. Falling asleep involves, of course, a process of surrendering, letting go, and requires a good degree of internal feelings of security. After all, being fast asleep places us in a very vulnerable position and this can trigger deep anxiety and stress. To find out more about trauma and its resolution, visit my site at
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