I have been getting several requests for advice on what to do to fall asleep. Simply stated, you need to prepare an environment for sleep and make an intent to fall asleep. Restless minds often find it hard to shut off but they are paying attention to the wrong things. Shutting off the mind is impossible until we are dead. However, you can slow the thoughts, limit your reactions to them and create new habits. These are three things that have helped me fall asleep quicker and feel more rested in the morning.
1. Turn the Television Off
Most of the time, we don’t realize how we contradict ourselves in the things that we want. We want peace but always fill our schedules so full that any amount of peace is not even listed. Who wants to sit around and do nothing? Sleep is supposed to be a time where the brain is repairing itself. If you think about it in computer terms, the mind is doing a backup. My partner has to have the television on and lately it has been on CNN news while we sleep. I would notice my mood being very negative in the morning and couldn’t figure out why. After I convinced him to try going to sleep without the television, he has even been benefiting from a deeper sleep. We turn on ‘Sleep Music’ and I have been falling asleep soundly for about a week. The music lasts for an hour and then it is quiet. If you need sound to fall asleep try this method and see if it helps.
2. Pay Attention to Your Breath
We spend money on oils, eye masks and Melatonin tablets but we often forget that everything we need is free and available to us all the time. Our breath and its amazing power to calm the mind is constantly forgotten and underrated. As you lay down to sleep, get completely comfortable, place your hands on your bellybutton and focus on your using your breath to raise your hands up and down. This sometimes takes a few minutes until I’m dozing off or has taken up to an hour to start to fall asleep. Regardless of how busy you are, I have not met a single person that likes to be stressed all the time. I know people that love to be busy all the time but do not like stress. I have friends that reach out to me because they are going through traumatic situations and I suggest this very thing because I believe that it cures most of the mind’s problems.
3. Don’t Have Caffeine Past 2pm
Many people are in denial about how much caffeine they consume and at what frequency. If you are needing that pick me up around 3pm, don’t reach for the coffee mug. Instead, reach for a bottle of water. Having caffeine past 2pm will almost certainly keep you up past your required bedtime. I used to get a coffee after work at 5pm to clean my house. Then, I would wonder why I wasn’t tired at 1am. It didn’t take long until I linked the two and start using this as I needed to. Caffeine is great when used correctly and not just a habit. Some people feel like falling asleep after consuming coffee or caffeinated soda and this should be a warning sign that you need a break. If you must have coffee, try having your ritual first coffee in the early morning. Then, have your second coffee shortly after lunch but before 2pm.
Sleep is very important to the body but we often think that we don’t have time to make the time for sleep. Making this a routine that you follow religiously will put you back in a sleeping pattern far better than any medication or over-the-counter drug can do. Parents make sure that their children brush their teeth, put on their pajamas and get tucked in. So, why do we as adults think that we no longer need these rituals to sleep? Never grow up, just get wiser.