Sleep is important to our health and happiness. It plays a significant role in our body’s healing process and greatly affects our mental abilities. In fact, if you don’t sleep for a long enough period of time, you can be declared clinically insane. Yet, as much as we may want to sleep, sometimes our brains race and it eludes us.
As our brains hold us hostage, we feed into a vicious cycle and become more frustrated by our lack of rest. This can go on for quite some time until something breaks the cycle. Don’t worry, though. My 5-year-old has the answer on how to sleep better.
The Wisdom of My 5-Year-Old
The other night, my oldest knew he was going to have troubles going to sleep. Before I even left the room, he said, “Mom, I think my brain is thinking about scary things.”
We’ve been working on the idea that we control our thoughts. If he is having bad thoughts, he can decide to change them into good thoughts. All I said was “Okay, buddy. You work on it.”
I started getting ready for bed and, about 10 minutes after our conversation, I passed by his room. He was completely asleep. Truly, I was amazed and impressed. I couldn’t wait to talk to him about it in the morning. What was the secret of his success?
In the morning, I asked him, “So what did you do last night? Did you think of good thoughts? Or did you just finally get so sleepy that you passed out?”
“Well, Mom,” he said with much contemplation. “I just shut off my mind. Like it was a TV, and I was done watching. I just turned it off.”
How to Sleep Better
As adults, we might wonder how to shut off our minds. At the end of the day, with everything that has happened today and everything that will happen tomorrow, it can be hard to disconnect for sleep. Instead, we lay in bed thinking and thinking. When morning comes, we are still tired from all the thinking we have been doing.
But there’s good news! I have two ideas on how you can learn to shut off your mind. The first idea is yoga, and the second idea is meditation. Admittedly, the two are tied together however, they are not exclusive to each other. I can practice yoga without being very involved in meditation, and I can meditate without doing yoga.
When you practice yoga, one of your main goals is to stay present on your mat through your whole practice. Ignore your upcoming obligations in your day. Leave what happened earlier in your day in the past. When it’s time to do yoga, it’s time to do yoga. Nothing else exists during that time. It’s just you, your mat, and your teacher.
Let’s carry the yoga practice to your bedtime ritual. If you find rest in Savasana, position yourself accordingly in your bed. Get very comfortable so that you can relax, and focus on that relaxation. Feel yourself sink into your pillow and your bed. Melt under the warmth of your blanket. Let the only thoughts you think be of relaxation and release of tension.
In meditation, you have a similar goal to yoga. You find a stillness within yourself and clear your mind. Sure, thoughts may come into your mind. As they do, acknowledge them and send them on their way. This time is all about you creating an openness in your mind.
Frequently, people fall asleep during meditation. When it’s bed time, begin your meditation in bed. Notice if you feel differently when you wake up in the morning.
With these tips, hopefully, we will all be able to get quality sleep.
What do you do to help you get to sleep when your mind is racing? Let us know in the comments below.
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