“Experts suggests that you need a minimum of eight to nine (hours of sleep) to be at your best physically and mentally…Stress and late-night television can leave you simultaneously wide-awake and exhausted. Over time, getting less sleep than you need will harm your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illness.” – The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding
It has been suggested by a colleague of mine to work in a nightly routine before retiring to bed. For instance, showering, dressing into a pair of pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a book can all be incorporated into this routine. It has been said that, once this routine becomes habit, it will send a signal to the brain to release melatonin and allow an individual to drift into dream world.
For some of us, like me, it is difficult to become a creature of routine. Our brains are flooded with thoughts that rattle on non-stop; even after the lights go out. I have incorporated the routine of reading at night. Sadly, when I find myself asleep with the book on my chest, I must wake to put the book away and turn off the lights. This has become a cue to my brain to wake up and start wandering, again.
Just in the nick of time, this meditation has greatly helped me to quiet those thoughts in my head. I ended up falling asleep faster, and I woke up earlier and more alert than I normally would. This meditation required me to block out all unnecessary distractions. I had to close the drapes tightly to not allow any light from the outdoors to creep in, turn off all electronics (that habit was thrown out the window over 20 years ago), and lay flat on my back without propping up by pillows.
My next step was to tense up all of my muscles; from the top of my head and all the way down to my toes. Then, I was allowed to relax them only to repeat this step three more times. After which, I was to focus on my breath; just as I would during my breathing meditation. I would take in slow deep breaths and then I would gradually release it (typically, I would count to ten on each breath). And, I was to do this 20 times!
Needless to say, I never made it to twenty. By the time I reached number 13, I was in La-La Land; gracefully jumping from cloud to cloud without a care in the world. This is a great meditation for the insomniacs and those having trouble sleeping. It is tops on my list and now will become a part of my nightly ritual.