We all know that a good night’s sleep sets the stage for a good day giving us energy, clarity, and enthusiasm. What many of us don’t realize is that how we spend our days has a lot to do with how restful our sleep will be. Disordered sleep is greatly influenced by disorderly days.
In our busy, stimulated, adrenaline-driven lives we have become addicted to busyness, stimulation, and the adrenaline rush. We “go-go-go” during our waking hours and then expect to immediately find restful sleep exactly when we want it. How realistic is it to go from full speed to full stop in an instant?
There are two primary strategies for living our days in a way that supports restful nights. One, make sure that you have “rest periods” during the day. This might be through a formal practice such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or any practice that quiets and centers you. Your rest periods might be less formal, taking the form of a minute or two of mindful, belly breathing – in the shower, at your desk, in the car, while walking to your next appointment. You might also take a short break to listen to some relaxing music, say a prayer, write in your journal, really taste and enjoy your food, hug a child or good friend, have a good belly laugh, watch the sunset. Any of these little pauses throughout the day will help your body and mind know what rest feels like and, later, recognize when you want to rest to move into sleep.