In today’s hurried, whacky, frantic world, it would be difficult to find anyone who is not stressed out. There is always a laundry list of things to do and never enough time or energy to get it all done. Stress may lead to chronic anxiety and stress hormones keep us awake. Over seventy five percent of Americans claim to have difficulty sleeping and at least one third of all Americans are sleep-deprived, regularly getting less than six hours of sleep a night.
Among the top 10 reasons for not getting enough sleep are stress, anxiety, depression, anger and fear – in other words, your mind can be responsible for disrupting your sleep. And that can be a vicious cycle because if you are having a tough time getting good sleep, you may be more dissatisfied with your life which can then lead to the very reasons that are causing you to not get enough sleep.
Are you like those that have difficulty falling asleep tossing and turning for hours? Or maybe you are like me in that I have no trouble falling asleep, but wake up after just a few hours to lay restlessly, fidgeting and anxiously trying to get back to sleep. Either way, what is going on in your head? Are you reliving the past and feeling regret, or are you worried about some future decision or commitment?
During these periods of wakefulness it is important to not allow your thoughts to be in control. You can use this time as quiet rest, reflection, or conscious meditation. Instead of allowing your thoughts to wander, turn your attention to your breathing and scan your body for tension. As you soften your belly, allow each breath to slowly come in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. Next begin with focusing on your heart and feel the flow of your blood as it goes to each part of your body. As the blood flows throughout your body, acknowledge if it is tight and tense and then choose to relax as the blood is providing energy and sustenance.
Become aware of yourself, lying in your bed – breathing, relaxing, comfortable, and grateful for the life force that is within and the next thing you know – well you may not realize it until you wake up.