There are dedicated practises to develop a full awakening. There are dedicated practices to develop a full sleepening. Both comprehensive practises support each other.
I receive regular messages or have conversations on the problem of getting to sleep at night or waking up after a while and being unable to get back to sleep.
Insomnia is a more intense form of sleeplessness, which prevents getting to sleep, staying asleep and experiencing deep sleep.
To enter a longer, deeper sleep, you will need to develop some of the practices listed below, daily, week after week. If the rules work through regularly experiencing a deep sleep for several hours, then you do not need to read on further. Happiness and play give support to falling quickly asleep at the end of the day.
You could select three or four points out of the three lists to apply daily for a minimum of a week. If you forget, then start again. Experiment. See what works for you. You dedicate yourself to changing a pattern affecting sleep.
Eight Basic Rules to Develop a Good Night’s Sleep
- Active during the day. Every day! Exercise, dance, weights, resistance bands, take long walks, garden etc.
- Are you on medication? Check it out. Experiment with times you take medicine.
- Ensure time for healthy food to digest before sleep. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
- Attend classes/zoom in mindfulness/meditation/mantras/chanting or kindness practices.
- Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, 7 days a week.
- Take hot bath, hot shower before sleep to relax the body.
- Try to stay awake all day, or a nap of maximum of 20 minutes or so. …
- Work with discomfort/pain. Breathe through it.
Here are other factors to consider and practice. Please remember. If you make no changes in your lifestyle, you will only repeat history. The mind (brain) only knows to repeat the old, namely insomnia.
Your channel from the waking state to the dream state to the deep sleep state gets interrupted – environmental factors (sound is one) or internal factors – movements in the mind is one.
You will need to bring mindfulness to the details of your day. You then develop subtle changes to that area.
Eight Questions for the Day to Develop a Good Night’s Sleep
- What specific situations cause me the most stress?
- Am I doing, doing, doing? Is there a loss of the sense of being?
- Am I not doing, not doing, not doing? This leaves no outflow of energy.
- Do I spend lots of time in daydreams, memories, future indulgencies?
- Am I grounded? Do I feel earthed and alive?
- What am I prepared to give up for a good night’s sleep, night after night?
- What am I prepared to develop for a good night’s sleep, night after night?
- Do I overstimulate the brain with mobile phone, computer, television, films (movies) distressing news, horror films or violent drama etc?
Eight Explorations for the Evening for a Good Night’s Sleep
- Eat nutritious, organic food with minimal spices, salt, sugar and fat.
- Chew food well so it is almost liquid before you swallow. Take little or no alcohol. Eat and drink a minimum of two hours before you sleep so food can digest.
- Do not shout in the evening, even to somebody in another part of the house.
- Explore evenings without use of technology stimulating braincells.
- Move mindfully in unhurried ways.
- Make the transition into horizontal posture slow and mindful.
- Sleep in a different direction, try a different pillow, remember three ways to sleep – on your back, on one side or the other. Full length of body. Feel body sinking into mattress. Rest in stillness. You could listen to soft music or short story.
- Keep a daily diary. Be mindful of subtle changes in the day and night.
If you Wake Up in the Night
You wake up in the night. You do not feel like getting up and you sense you cannot get back to sleep. Meditate. Sit on your pillow or put it behind your back. Cross-legged or legs stretched out. Straight back. Sit tall. With presence. You can pull your blanket or duvet up to your shoulders – without disturbing a partner or your child next to you. Sit still. You can experience the palpable silence of the night. The night is more than just quiet. It is deeper than that. You have a precious opportunity to experience a deep meditation. Meditate on (experience directly without thinking) on the silence and stillness of the night. Allow the whole being to rest in the silence, in the stillness. When tiredness returns then go back to the horizontal posture. Meditation in the night can conserve much energy for the next day of parenting/working/studying etc.
Be patient. You can develop the channel into deep sleep.
Awakening supports Sleepening. Sleepening supports Awakening.
You can consider taking drops of Valerian, a plant-based remedy contributing to relaxation of the body/mind and sleep. Sometimes referred to as Nature’s valium. Plant-based Arnica oil (35% or more concentration) eases physical pain, muscles and bruises.
A small percentage of people experience short and irregular sleep as the norm. Resistance to sleeplessness feeds insomnia.
Reflect on the benefit of interrupted sleep. There is much opportunity in the night hours.
PS. The Buddha experienced a Night of Enlightenment, not a Day of Enlightenment. So can you.
Thank you Christopher for the good advice. I have suffered insomnia for a considerable time. I solved it literally ‘overnight’ by no watching or listening to the news or any news related programme, even avoiding newspaper headlines as I walked past them in the supermarket. I have no idea what is going on in the world at any moment and trust my husband will tell me anything I really need to know. Maybe this will work for others. Happy New Year.