Is Good Sleep a Choice?
Like most people, I’ve used sleeping aids, food, alcohol, and at one time prescribed drugs to doze off to sleep. The problem is that consciously entering sleep is very different from our “taking the edge off” to sleep which usually means passing out through the use of addictive or synthetic forms of sedation — we wake shortly after an hour or two faced with the same problem — and now, with panic.
My former sleep life consisted of feared nights and unrestored mornings. I’ve changed. I had to say no to that way of lifestyle and choose a different one.
After receiving treatment for prostate cancer in 2013, I decided that I best begin taking better care of my body. Not that I didn’t before but there are always ways to improve our wellbeing. No one is a perfect human.
Lifestyle choices — how do we show up for our sleep life?
Today, I love the process itself. I like pulling back the covers, getting into bed then pulling the sheet back up over me. It feels good. I enjoy the sound that fresh sheets make as you pull them up. Yes, I’m partial to my 100 percent cotton, nicely spun, sheets. I love the crinkle of them. It’s important that we like what we are getting into.
The bedroom should be our sanctuary. We spend 6–9 hours there so why not evolve that temple we enter each night, right? We can easily manifest the perfect sleeping environment — our stillness. How do we create it? That leads me to what’s on our night stands.
I feel it is important to note that science proves everything is energy. And energy interacts in it’s various forms with all things. Then for me, it makes sense to place only the books and objects next to my bed that I wish to absorb or add to my life.
My bedside table holds a few bottles of essential oils, lavender and ylang ylang, a few good books, currently I’m reading Michelle Harvey’s “Poetry for Living an Inspired Life” — and a clipping of Wayne Dyer from a magazine that holds one of the best mantra’s I’ve heard. It reads “good things are going to happen”
On nights that my mind is a little more active, maybe before a big day or meeting, I’ll dab a drop of lavender oil on my temples and on my pillow. Lavender, known for having relaxing properties is frequently used in massage oils.
Speaking of pillows, my favorite pillow is my Iso-Cool! Someone recommended it to me and I found it on Amazon, our one-click easy access to all things needed in a hurry. Since I sleep mostly on my side, this memory foam type pillow nicely supports my neck. A good pillow is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
The first few moments of getting into bed are a beautiful ritual for me. I take a few deep breaths and say thank you as I exhale. This helps me get rid of all the gobbledygook from the day and brings my attention to gratitude for all the good things I have in my life. As I look around at my books and read that mantra “good things are going to happen” — I enter a sacred place where I feel safe, loved and enough. I’m ready to sleep.
“I love you is my commitment to understanding that happiness and sustainability is reliant on our connectedness and through our inclusiveness.”
I’m often excited about what a good night sleep might bring — restoration to my body, the hope of something good coming my way — and the promise of a new day. It might even solve a problem I had during the day that I hadn’t resolved. These are the benefits of my earlier choices.
I enjoy a cooler room to sleep in and if I snack before bed it is usually greek yogurt that contains calcium which is supportive to sleep. Keeping bottled water nearby is also helpful. In the summer months we dehydrate from the higher temps and in the winter from the use of heat. Just a mouthful during the night makes a difference in our comfort level.
Of course physical exercise, good nutrition and a good b-complex with vitamin c are good lifestyle choices that assist restorative sleep. Yoga is a beautiful addition to align our body, mind with spirit and combined with meditating just 5 minutes in the morning at night we can dramatically improve our sleep patterns — and our day.
These are choices we can make toward inducing good sleep and adding longevity to our life.
Never underestimate the waking process. I’m not one of those bubbly people that jumps out of bed happy, alert, and begins a conversation about the afternoons meetings and dinner plans. I hate loud noise and anything jarring when I get up. It’s unnatural!
I can tell you, I’ve downloaded a great sleep app that chimes beautifully ten minutes before I need to prepare to go to bed and will slowly wake me in the morning with melodic music, nudging me into a new day of possibility, opportunity and creativity. As Oprah says — Hallelujerrrrrrr!
Typically I avoid all electronical devices for 30 minutes upon waking and I read a page or two from a book that grounds me. I’ll spend another few minutes writing — about my dreams, my thoughts, anything that comes, it doesn’t matter — the point is to get the remainder of my thoughts out of my heads and down onto paper.
So that is the 101 on how I’ve been able to transform my sleepless nights into truly enjoying going to bed at night.
Here’s my Recap:
- Make your bedroom a sanctuary.
- Invest in a good pillow.
- Create a night time ritual.
- Place only inspiring objects on a bed stand.
- Take three deep breaths, exhale with gratitude.
- Keep temperatures cool, hydrate and be gentle with yourself.
In closing, the most important detail I can share with you is the last thing I do as I drift off to sleep. I say “I love you”. I love you is a conscious acknowledgement to myself, my family, my God, angels, loved ones passed on, and to my pets — of our shared existence. I love you is my commitment to understanding that happiness and sustainability is reliant on our connectedness and through our inclusiveness. OK, so I don’t have pets, lol, but to my stuffed animals I declare — sleep well, I love you!
Originally published at yesrising.com on March 13, 2017.