8 Ways to Fall Asleep Without Drugs

Photo courtesy of kygp

Sleep is one of the great pleasures of life. What a relief it is to fall asleep and leave all of your troubles behind! But so many people struggle to sleep, dealing with racing thoughts and anxiety.

There are lots of drugs you could take to put you to sleep, but they have hidden costs. Being drowsy and groggy the next day is certainly the best-known cost of sleep-inducing drugs. But there is another, more insidious, cost: sleep drugs reduce your ability to dream.

Dreaming is a very important way for your mind to refresh, to think broadly and intuitively, and to come up with fresh, creative solutions to problems.

So, here are 8 ways to fall asleep without drugs:

  1. Set the alarm clock for when you have to go to sleep, not when you have to wake up. (Try to develop the ability to wake up on your own, rather than needing an alarm.)
  2. When your alarm clock tells you it’s time to go to sleep, dim the lights in your room. Bright light tells your body it’s time to wake up, and dim lights tell your body it’s time to sleep.
  3. Continue your bedtime ritual with some meditation. Sit up straight, and make your breathing slow, deep, rhythmic, and heart-centered. If you can, feel your heartbeat and breathe in for 8 beats, then out for 8 beats. Just a few minutes of meditating on your heart will slow down the rhythm of your body and mind. (Learn how to meditate here.)
  4. As you lay in bed, remember that you have a purpose. Your life has meaning. You have come here to do what no one else can do. Think of your life, and remember that all of your experiences have prepared you for this purpose.
  5. Try laying on your right side, which will shift your breath to your left nostril, activating the right hemisphere of your brain and moving you into a relaxed, receptive space.
  6. Feel your heart beating as you lay in bed. Feel how your heart is like an anchor, beating steadily whether you pay attention or not.
  7. Now try a technique called the Sleepy Breath: make your breath like it is when you are asleep. When you’re sleeping, you have a heavy exhalation that tapers off, then a quicker inhalation, followed by another heavy exhalation, and so on.
  8. If you awaken at night and can’t sleep, sit up and practice meditation again. Try a technique called the Water Breath: breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Feel the heaviness of water, moving downward, spreading out in all directions, washing away all tension in an endless flow of love.

I hope these heart-centered meditation techniques are all that are required to restore your sleep so that you are rested and refreshed each morning. If you’re new to meditation, you can learn how to meditate here.

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