Yesterday evening I decided that I needed to drink more water. I always drink lots of de-caf tea but I do seem to be thirsty a lot. As I sat doing some work on the website I had a pint glass, kept refilling and drank lots!
I did feel better but the trouble was that I then needed to go to the toilet in the night…more than once!
Thankfully I had the mindfulness tools to get me back to sleep so it didn’t impact too much on how I felt today. It did get me thinking about sleep problems in general.
For 1 in 3 people in the UK insomnia is a problem. It covers all sorts of sleep problems, not being able to get to sleep in the first place, waking in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, and waking too early in the morning.
Between 7 and 9 hours sleep is normal for adults and really we just judge how much we need by how we feel in the daytime. For many people tiredness is a constant state, something that they think is unavoidable.
If you lose out on sleep because of difficulty getting to sleep then mindfulness could really help you. The habit of regular meditation really works because your body and mind get well practised at switching off when you want them too.
In addition there are specific exercises which help you a practical way when you are in bed trying to get to sleep. Sometimes just having a positive step to take to sort it out can feel like a massive relief.
Next time your mind is really hectic and you are struggling to switch off try this…
This exercise is all about calming you senses so that your mind quietens down and you slip into a state of rest.
Lie flat on your back, arms by your sides, legs straight.
Keep your eyes open to start with. Have a gentle gaze, not fixed on anything in particular. Think about your eyes, how they feel, how hard they have worked all day. Soon your eyes will really want to close, very slowly let them.
Next think about the senses of smell and taste. By the time you get into bed having brushed your teeth these senses have done their work for the day. They are likely to be quite peaceful so just notice this.
Then move on to sound. Notice sounds coming in and out of your awareness. You should not strain to listen but just have an awareness of sounds as they come and go. The world tends to be quieter at night time so hopefully you will appreciate this.
Finally enjoy the sensation of touch. Be aware of your body being supported by the bed and of your head comfortable on the pillow. Enjoy the feel of the sheets and quilt. Appreciate how you don’t have to put any effort in, allow yourself to drift off in this lovely safe, warm environment.
Obviously if you are in bed with the lights off you won’t want to be reading these instructions so perhaps have a go in the daytime first. Try sitting and just noticing all of the senses one by one. You will soon find that you can think through them all without any trouble.
Once you have the hang of it this method of being aware of the senses will help get you off to sleep any time.
Mindfulness can help in all sorts of areas of your life. There are so many different exercises that all offer solutions to difficulties that arise in every day life.
Book on to a Revitalise Day to get a great meditation and mindfulness focussed day or arrange a private session if you have specific areas you would like to target.