Sleep Better


It’s no big secret that sleep is one of the keys to success and happiness in life.  The average adult need 6-8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep, while the average teenager needs 10-12 hours (their brains are undergoing tremendous growth and development).

When we are well rested, and get enough sleep, we have reserves of energy, enabling us to fulfill our purpose in life, care for our loved ones and animals, and have the mental capacity to work through whatever life delivers our way.  When are deprived of sleep, our brains do not consolidate memories (no REM or dream stage), leaving us with a cluttered mind, which makes memory retention, focus/attention, decision-making and problem-solving more difficult.  It depletes us of energy and can lead to long-term health issues as well.

Recently, my husband told me about this military visualization he heard about it.  I have been using it for about a week with great success.  I’ve also taught my children who have been using it successfully as well.  According to some information I have discovered online, this technique was first developed by the US Navy to help troops sleep when sleeping conditions were poor.  It’s simple and anyone can train themselves to use it.  I have even seen some videos on YouTube which demonstrate how.

Start by bringing your awareness into your body.  This means noticing how the body feels.  Noticing the breath and quality of the breath.  Notice the sound, movement, and rhythm of the body.  Start to (mentally) scan the body from the head and working downwards.  Notice any tension and allow the tension to ease or melt out of the body.  Once the body is still and relaxed, begin to imagine yourself floating in a canoe on a large body of water.  Allow yourself to feel into the rhythm of either stillness, or gentle swaying.  You can get creative about the inside of the canoe.  Notice the surface.  Is it hard of soft?  Make it as comfortable as you can.  Using visual imagery, imagine yourself embraced in a blanket, providing warmth and weight for grounding.

Then start to picture the clear sky above.  I like to imagine it is a starry night, and I gaze at the stars.  Within minutes, I usually fall asleep.  Even if I wake up in the night, when I use this exercise, I am able to get myself back to sleep within minutes.

Some other tips for good sleep hygiene include:
-Avoid screens 2 hours before bedtime
-Stay hydrated and get plenty of exercise during the day
-Dim the lights or use lamps instead of overhead, bright, LED lights
-Avoid heavy meals 2 hours before bedtime
-Use a natural supplement like Melatonin or Valerian (careful about over-use of Melatonin as your body will stop making it organically when supplemented daily)
-Try diffusing an essential oil like lavender or cedarwood
-Listen to soothing music or sounds either on a app or through a noise machine
-Try yoga nidra or another relaxing form of meditation
-Keep a dream journal (by doing so, you set an intention to get to the dream phase or REM, which can help you sleep better)
-Try flower essences like Rescue Remedy for an overactive mental or emotional state and bring the energy levels down

The better we sleep, the better we feel and the better we feel, the better we function!

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