Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night's Sleep Part IV

Good Habits

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Welcome to Part IV, the final week in my series about Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep! This week we are focusing on good habits for you to try to keep your sleep patterns healthy and regular.

I can almost hear the sigh coming through the computer screen as you read these good habit ideas. I can hear the whispered excuses and justifications.

The truth is I am not offering anything here that hasn’t been said before and that you don’t already know in your heart. But as a wayshower and awakener it’s my purpose and honor to lead you to the light of a different way of being. Like I said last week, there is no magic switch that makes everything better. You are here to experience and if you aren’t happy with your experience then do something different!

You are in control of your actions and responses and thereby your experiences. So release the old stories, free yourself from your blocks, take the wheel and turn left.

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  • Prepare

If you spend your nights tossing and turning worrying about all the things you have to do, it’s worth going to bed a little later so that you can prepare for the next day. Knowing you don’t have to rush around in the morning will allow for more restorative sleep.

Before beginning your nighttime ritual:

  • Pick out your clothes and set up the coffee pot.

  • Write a to-do list so your brain can stop ruminating.

  • Wash your face and hands and brush your teeth and hair to wash off the day both literally and energetically.

 

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  • Disconnect

 If you are rolling your eyes or feeling any resistance to this, then you probably REALLY need to do it. I won’t bore you with all the research about the blue light or the electromagnetic waves emitted from your phone or go on and on about how scrolling through social media and news before bed only keeps your mind active and agitated.

Just put the phone on Do Not Disturb and stick it in a drawer already!

At least try it for a full week before discounting the benefits of doing it.

 

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  • Spend some time in gratitude

 Gratitude journals get mixed reviews, but I say give it a try for 30 days.

 What we send out comes back; it is an energetic invitation to the Universe to reflect back to us what we are focused on. Shifting your energy from feeling overwhelmed and beat down to being in gratitude invites things in which to be grateful for into your life.

 Also, spending time looking for the good in your day puts you in a more positive mental state helping to alleviate stress and tension.

 

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  • Stick with your routine

Once you have found your magic sleep ritual combination stick to it the best you can. Creating a rhythm of consistency at bedtime trains the body and mind to relax and sleep.

As promised…..my personal nighttime ritual!

After giving up the OTC sleeping pills I knew it would take some of trial and error to find what would work for me. I began by applying some basic Feng Sui principles and adding a crystal grid around my bedroom. Then I added diffusing essential oils for sleep, hot flashes and overall wellness. I wash my face and hands, brush my teeth and hair and close the bathroom door before getting in bed. Once I’m in bed, I write in my gratitude journal then practice Lazy Bed Yoga, Qi gong breathing and grounding. Lastly, my phone goes on Do Not Disturb and is placed in a closed drawer.

I know this sounds like a lot but it only takes about 30 minutes and its completely worth it!

Occasionally I still find myself waking up in the middle of the night with my brain jabbering away. So I use the Mantra I shared in Part III or play some sleep music. This seems to preoccupy and quiet my brain enough to go back to sleep.

Over the past couple of years I tried most of the practices I have shared with you and they all have value.

I hope you give some of these ideas a try so that you can find your magic combination!

REMEMBER: If something doesn’t work for you try not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I suggest trying each practice that appeals to you for 7 days – 30 days. One or two nights is not enough time for your system to reset. Practices take time, your body-mind-spirit need to adjust and adapt. Somethings may help a little, but they aren’t enough. That’s okay, you may need to add another practice or two in order to find the combination that works for you. Either build on what you like or put a pin in what works so you can come back to it later.

Keep notes and record your experiences each day. Include:

·       Any significant or major events that impacted your day

·       The practice you tried

·       Time of night you did the practice

·       Your mood before and after the practice

·       What time you went to bed

·       The quality of your sleep

I have created a printable chart you can use to make this process even easier. Download it here.

Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Part III

Pre-Bedtime Practices

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Welcome to Part III in my series about Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep! This week we are focusing on three practice ideas to try right before going to bed.

If you are deep in the sleep struggle, feeling haggard and worn out, the idea of doing anything else probably creates a knee jerk resistance from the mere suggestion.

I do understand!

But let me offer you a different perspective….if you change nothing….nothing will change. A magic switch will not automatically flip one day and all your sleep troubles will be gone. There is not one event or thing that will make it all go away. Peace comes from the inside which means you have to do inside work.

The following practices are proven scientifically, medically and energetically to provide amazing results that contribute to your overall well-being. They are relaxing, centering, calming, grounding and feel good to your body, mind and spirit.

So, I am gently nudging you to stop resisting the work and embrace the practice. Try one and really surrender to it for at least a week. If that one doesn’t do it for you try another. I highly encourage you to include at least one of these practices in your final daily or nightly routine.

 

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  • Deep breathing.

    Deep breathing is great for releasing tension, soothing nerves and calming emotions. However, most people don’t practice conscious deep breathing effectively. Either they don’t know how or it feels too inactive for the doer.

Qigong is a wonderful practice that incorporates breath and energy movement. I found this YouTube video that shows several bedtime postures. This particular video doesn’t focus on the intention part of it as much as I like, and the practices should be slower and more focused. But I do like that he provides many to choose from.

 Try them all and then select 3 or 4 that feel good to your body and do them every night before bed. Once you have the movement down pat, I invite you to slow it down and really focus on your intention…moving the energy, grounding, creating calm.

  

  • Yoga

    Yoga seems to be one of those things you either love or hate. I used to land firmly on the latter until I tried restorative. Restorative yoga poses are another great way to relax and decompress.

 About a year ago I found Lazy Bed Yoga! Yes, you read that correctly. There are 6 passive poses that take 11 – 15 minutes and they are worth every second. There is no straining, no struggle, no downward dogs (my personal least favorite) and you do them in your bed! Legs up the wall is my favorite position, my yoga teacher refers to it as the real fountain of youth!

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 Feel free to save these photo collages for handy reference. The original video is linked below.

 
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  •  Guided meditation

    Meditation is a very hot topic these days because of its immense restorative benefits. However, many people struggle with sitting still, emptying the mind and focusing only on the breath. Unless you are extremely disciplined and already a peaceful person, this practice can create more stress than calm.

Instead I recommend Guided Meditation or Visualization. This gives the mind something to do while allowing the body to relax. Free apps are a great resource for relaxation and sleep visualizations. Here are 3 to try.

 o   Stop, Breathe & Think App – this app provides a platform to check in with your thoughts and emotions, record them, breathing exercises and guided meditations. You can choose to do as much or as little as you want. Free meditations are available in relaxation and sleep among many others.

o   Insight Timer – this app has 10,000 free meditations plus courses including one called Your Guide To Deeper Sleep. There is search feature making it easy to look for the type of meditation you want. If you can’t find one you like here, then meditation may not be your thing!

o   Breethe App – this app has many short guided meditations with a couple of free ones specifically for sleep. It also has a series called Better Sleep for paid members.

REMEMBER: If something doesn’t work for you try not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I suggest trying each practice that appeals to you for 7 days – 30 days. One or two nights is not enough time for your system to reset. Practices take time, your body-mind-spirit need to adjust and adapt. Somethings may help a little, but they aren’t enough. That’s okay, you may need to add another practice or two in order to find the combination that works for you. Either build on what you like or put a pin in what works so you can come back to it later.

Keep notes and record your experiences each day. Include:

·       Any significant or major events that impacted your day

·       The practice you tried

·       Time of night you did the practice

·       Your mood before and after the practice

·       What time you went to bed

·       The quality of your sleep

I have created a printable Practice Log to make this process even easier.

 

Share your thoughts and experiences with these practices, what works and what doesn’t. If you have some other ideas about pre-bedtime practices that have worked for you share those too!

NEXT WEEK: Good Habits

The information and suggestions provided in this article are opinions and in no way constitute medical or psychological advice.

Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Part II

Natural Remedies

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Welcome to Part II in my series about Escaping the Brain Rut: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep! This week we are focusing on four natural remedy ideas.

There are plenty of prescription and over the counter drugs available to help you sleep however, I advocate for non-toxic, no chemical alternatives. I believe our bodies are temples and it is far healthier physically and energetically to work with one’s natural rhythms. When we heal underlying causes of fear, anxiety and sleeplessness our bodies can reset and function as they are meant to.

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  • Herbal teas for relaxation and sleep.

Sleep teas include herbs such as: Chamomile, Hops, Valerian, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower, and Ashwagandha. If you are lucky enough to live near an herb store have one blended especially for you. They can add things to help with night sweats and other conditions specific to you. Yogi makes two nice blends called Stress Relief and Bedtime that are very calming. Or you can try a simple Chamomile.

Drink a cup of sleepy herbal tea about an hour before bed. Be sure to use the bathroom right before getting into bed as many herbs are diuretics.

 When sleep is a huge issue, tea may not be enough but it’s a great practice to add to your mix.

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  • Aromatherapy is another great solution.

By diffusing, spraying or applying essential oils such as: Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Sweet Orange or Valerian you can quiet the mind, release tension, and relax.

Many companies make relaxation and sleep oils already blended for you. Keep Me Sleeping Essential Oil Aromatherapy, made from 100% pure essential oils and organic jojoba oil, is available as a blend and a spray.

(Please note essential oils are highly concentrated, a drop goes a long way. Place essential oils in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut before applying directly to the skin. Not all essential oils are created equal and major brand names are not necessarily better. Do your homework, ask for GC/MS reports and purchase from reputable sources.)

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  • Try natural supplements, tinctures or flower essences.

There are many natural supplements, tinctures and flower essence sleep aids on the market.

Supplements of Melatonin, Valerian, Inositol, L-Trytophan and 5-HTP are a few typically used as sleep aids. Sometimes a supplement can help break the sleeplessness cycle long enough to get back to a natural circadian rhythm.

Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts suspended in grain alcohol, glycerin or vinegar. They are administered under the tongue for fast absorption and immediate effects. These provide the same benefits of herbal tea without having to brew and drink.

Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy is a staple in my home!

Like essential oils, there are a lot of brands out there so do your research on the company and the ingredients and consult your health professional before ingesting anything.

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  •  Recite a mantra.

This may seem like a fluff idea, but believe me when I say it actually works! Create a one or two sentence mantra that sets the intention of what you want. Recite it while going to sleep and if you wake up in the middle of the night.  

 This is the one I use. You are welcome to steal it, adapt it, or create your own.  

“I experience restful and restorative sleep. My mind is peaceful and quiet.”

 Notice that the intentions are phrased to state that I already have what I want. This is a psychological game for the brain; and energetically the Universe hears your intention and mirrors that back.


Keep going…

If something doesn’t work for you try not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I suggest trying each practice that appeals to you for 7 days – 30 days. One or two nights is not enough time for your system to reset. Practices take time, your body-mind-spirit need to adjust and adapt. Somethings may help a little but they aren’t enough. That’s okay, you may need to add another practice or two in order to find the combination that works for you. Either build on what you like or put a pin in what works so you can come back to it later.

Keep notes and record your experiences each day. Include:

·       Any significant or major events that impacted your day

·       The practice you tried

·       Time of night you did the practice

·       Your mood before and after the practice

·       What time you went to bed

·       The quality of your sleep

I have created a printable Practice Log you can use to make this process even easier. You’ll notice the log is short to encourage you to actually do it. By having a written record of your experiences each day you’ll be able to see what is working, what is not working, and possible reasons why for both.

 

Share your thoughts and experiences with these practices, what works and what doesn’t. If you have some other ideas about natural remedies share those too!


NEXT WEEK: Pre-Bedtime Practices


The information and suggestions provided in this article are opinions and in no way constitute medical or psychological advice.