By Lisa Manning, CST, CHt
I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know? – Ernest Hemingway
Ah… sleep. Finally, a time for quiet, peace, reflection, and… wait, what? Uninterrupted, obsessive thoughts? Really?! Do you recognize this scenario?
The six to nine hours of sleep that you’re hopefully getting every night are key to maintaining physical and emotional health. This is your opportunity to rest, recover, and perchance to dream.
Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison both used half-sleep moments to solve big questions. There are vast resources available in your subconscious for healing and deciphering the world in general.
We shift through different states of consciousness in our waking hours – even when we sleep. Understanding the process automatically gives you more control:
Beta. Your awake and alert state is the part of the mind that’s the ‘driver,’ controlling the mechanical motions in life.
Alpha. When you slip into daydream mode, you’ve shifted into Alpha. Depending on the thoughts hanging out in your subconscious, these can be pleasant dreams or anxious and fearful ones.
Theta. This meditative mode is a blissful, dreamy state of consciousness that carries us into and out of Delta, deep sleep.
Delta. It’s very important to achieve this deep phase of sleep (with low brain wave activity or Non-Rapid Eye Movement/NREM) to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Which brings us back to the question: “How is your sleep?” Is it a time for recovery and creativity? Or are you stuck in a stress-loop thought pattern.
Mindfulness practices to induce sleep
In all things mindful, awareness of the process is the first step to freedom. We can choose our thoughts. The last thoughts on your mind before sleep will be the ones that play on your subconscious sound track all night long: so, choose those thoughts wisely.
Create a plan for going to sleep with an uncluttered and peaceful mind:
- Keep a small to-do notebook by the bed. If you think of something to be accomplished, write it down and let it go. It will be there in the morning.
- Turn off the TV, tablet, phone: 30-60 mins before sleep.
- Find music/literature that uplift/fill the senses with beauty.
- Listen to guided meditation: unwind and clear the mind.
Setting the scene for a healthy night’s sleep prepares and guides you into peaceful and restorative dreamscapes, giving mind and body a needed break from daily stress. If you don’t choose your thoughts, they will choose for you! Sleep well and dream big.
Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety.