3 Tips for Getting the Rest You Need When Sleep Won’t Come
We love to be informed, in charge, and in control.
Okay, so maybe I’m projecting my own issues onto everyone else. But really, I don’t know many people who are truly skillful at surrender and letting go. And guess what, that’s exactly what we need to do to fall asleep.We need to surrender to darkness, night, and dreams. And to do that we need to let go of thoughts, worries, planning … and … well… control.
But sleep is one of the many things (along with love, happiness, and maybe cats) that elude us in equal proportion to the effort we put into chasing them.
Really, when it comes to sleep we can’t quite control it. There’s no guaranteed technique for sleeping deeply and well for 8 hours every single night. All we can do is create the right conditions for sleep to come. I’ve written (and will continue to write) more on that topic in other posts.
For now, I’d like to offer you a few suggestions for what to do when you were not able to get the sleep you needed at night. These are my ways for offsetting your sleep deficit during the day. They are techniques to use to help restore and refresh you on those days when you just couldn’t coax (or strong-arm) sleep into gracing you with a nice long visit:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: This is also called belly breathing or just deep breathing. Simply focus on slowing and lengthening your breath so it fills your low belly (below the navel) on every inhale, and empties completely on every exhale. This type of breathing lowers stress and boosts energy.
- Yoga Nidra: Better than a power nap, yoga nidra is a meditation exercise that with 20 minutes of practice can make you feel rested as if you’ve had a full night’s sleep. I have a guided yoga nidra CD by Jennifer Reis that I recommend. Or just find instructions on the internet.
- Rest Your Mind: Thinking is exhausting. Believe me, I know. And some thoughts are more tiring than others. So, whenever possible, shift your focus from your thoughts to your senses. Rather than judge, plan, remember, or ruminate, focus on the colors, sounds, or textures around you. Anytime a thought pops up, just return your focus fully to your senses.
To read more about a mindful approach to sleep, click here.