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, my mind can be responsible for disrupting my sleep. And that can be a vicious cycle because if I am having a tough time getting good sleep, I may be more dissatisfied with my life which can then lead to the very reasons that are causing me 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, it is important for me to look at what is going on in my head? Am I reliving the past and feeling regret, or am I worried about some future decision or commitment?
During these periods of wakefulness it is important to not allow my thoughts to be in control. I can use this time as quiet rest, reflection, or conscious meditation. Instead of allowing my thoughts to wander, turn my attention to my breathing and scan my body for tension. As I soften my belly, allowing each breath to slowly come in through my nostrils and out through my mouth. Next I begin focusing on my heart and feel the flow of my blood as it goes to each part of my body. As the blood flows throughout my body, I acknowledge if it is tight and tense and then choose to relax as the blood is providing energy and sustenance.
Becoming aware of myself, lying in my bed – breathing, relaxing, comfortable, and grateful for the life force that is within and the next thing I know – well I may not realize it until I wake up.
Thank you for listening to me as I change my responses to all that is going on around me.
With Gratitude, Norma Jean