I can speak from personal experience that lacking sleep, especially regularly, is horrible. Many times I'd go to bed about 11 pm or so, but I'd toss and turn all night long, never getting an ounce of sleep. Sometimes I'd go to work the next day completely sleep deprived. I'd be stuttering in meetings, unable to pay attention and feel so incredibly drowsy. It was a nightmare.
We all know how difficult it is to get out of our heads when we want to fall asleep. Because there are typically no distractions (in a dark, quiet room), the mind can become overactive and keep us up all night.
In this blog post, I want to share with you a technique that has helped me relax before falling asleep. Everyone is different, so what worked for me may not work for you.
Before getting into the technique I want to mention something. One very prevalent reason why many people tend to toss and turn all night long is because of the inability to get out of their heads. Many times when people go to bed, as soon as their head hits the pillow they start dwelling on all kinds of bad things that happened in the past or they anticipate bad things happening the following day or sometime in the future. These negative thoughts can keep you up at night as it can cause you to feel tense and uneasy.
So, the idea behind this technique is to get out of your head and concentrate on the present moment. When you're in the present moment, you're not thinking. And if you're not thinking, well, you're obviously not dwelling on bad things in the past or fearing what could happen in the future.
This is what I want you to do: While you're in bed, I want you to try this simple exercise. I want you to put all your attention and all your focus on your feet. If all your focus is on your feet, you should be able to feel your feet in some capacity. Maybe you'll feel them tingle, maybe you'll notice they are a bit cool or warm.
When you're able to feel your feet in any capacity, move up to your knees. Be aware of your knees. Try to feel your knees in some capacity, just like you did with your feet. When you feel your knees (maybe a little tingle, etc.) move on to your hips and try to feel your hips in some way.
Keep doing this exercise and climb up your body. After your hips, move on to your stomach, then your chest, your arms, hands, neck, face, and even your head. When you're concentrating on each body part, don't move to the next until you can feel that body part in some way.
How is this working?
When you concentrate all your attention and focus on a body part, it's difficult to be lost in your head, thinking about yesterday or thinking about tomorrow. So, when you concentrate all your focus on a body part, you become present. You start to become aware of that body part. When you feel your body part in some capacity, you become even more aware of that body part. When you become aware and more importantly feel each body part you are diving deeper and deeper into a mindfulness state. When you're experiencing a mindfulness state, you are ever so softly diverting yourself from thinking about things that took place in the past or things that could take place in the future.
Give it a try. This is a great technique that can help you relax before falling asleep. Will it take practice? Of course, it will. But as you know, anything worthwhile takes practice and patience. Stick with it and hopefully, you see the results that many do.
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