Good morning! Is it? Did you manage a good night of restful sleep? So many people don't and it might because of pain, a need to pop to the loo, that your partner has taken all the bedding, that that space in the bed is cold and wakes you as you turn over, the traffic, stress, temperature etc etc. Now I know we have thought about sleep before, but is so important and necessary for each and every one of us for our health and wellbeing.
I know I have shared with you that I am not a great sleeper. I always drop off to sleep very quickly, but am usually awake from about four, sometimes five o'clock and cannot drift back. I lie there warm, comfortable and thinking! I do try and empty my mind, but often it is easier to give in to it and simply rest until the alarm goes off.
But what of a helpful routine to help you drift off.
“Caring for myself as if I were a child is helpful: following my instincts, allowing room for play, and tucking myself in at reasonable hours.”
“Take at least 30 minutes to wind down, doing things that calm your body and soothe racing thoughts.”
Do we actually do this? Regularly every night? Probably not, though we should shut off from the day about 30 mins before bed, unwind with whatever our "quiet" routine is, getting into bed about 10 before "lights off" and enjoying a quiet read, prayers, Compline, meditation and a final cuppa or a milky drink and then sleep. This routine adapted to our own circumstances and stuck to rigidly should certainly help us. I have a friend who isn't too well at the moment and her husband has stopped all incoming calls to the landline and mobiles at 6 o'clock each evening. Although this sounds strict it has helped her to sleep and rest more easily with no stressful calls interrupting the quiet haven.
“Your bedtime routine should feel compassionate, not forceful.”
This all sounds good and maybe just the answer for you - reduce stress, reduce stimulation, think about comfort, nice smells, lack of light or noise, cool/warm bedwear. But what happens when you awake at 2 o'clock heart pounding and wide awake? What happens when you just lie there perhaps comfortable and just awake?
"WHEN YOU’RE IN BED: CLEAR YOUR MIND, RELAX YOUR BODY"
There isn't as much good advice to follow here. but try getting up for a drink. Keep a kettle on the landing and make yourself a drink, listen to some nice reflective music as you drink, spritz your bed and nighty/pjs with a nice perfume spray to aid restfulness. Maybe, if reading is your thing, have a look at a restful poetry or a diary which is calming. Go to the toilet before settling, keep a dream diary, if you are being woken by your dreams or woken by concerns to do and most of all don't worry about being awake. Now repeat your getting into bed routine.
This can help many people just the knowing it is ok and as long as you help yourself you "mother" yourself you allow space to be awake but empty minded and rested. A warm drink helps soothe and use an upstairs nook to put your cup, kettle etc. Try relaxing teabags if they are your thing and if not, good old tea, but I would suggest not too strong. Try saying the Jesus prayer that we have discussed before as you slow your breathing down.
We can all have periods of restlessness in our sleep, perhaps because we are not well or worried , perhaps because we are facing change or major decisions, maybe we are bereaved or anxious and lonely. Where we are is normal and natural and just rest in it. Try emptying your mind at bedtime, try the pillow down the bed trick, try a jotting book on your bedside table, but most of all close your eyes, remove stimulus and simply rest with God.