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Tips for Deep Sleep

Learn three strategies to soften a busy mind and tense body, and drift into deep sleep.

In today's session, we are going to talk about sleep, three tips for deep sleep. More to come on that soon. For now, let's settle in together by tuning into the sound of the bells. Okay, so let's talk sleep. Sleep was a pain point for me for about 10 years of my life.

Mostly through adolescence, I struggled with sleep. I'd wake up many times throughout the night, tough for me to fall asleep, stay asleep. And my sleep always just felt light,light and surface. And I had taken sleep meds, it just made me groggy. Didn't like it.

And I started meditating, and literally within three weeks, I went from waking up over 30 times a night, only a couple of times a night. And it has been like that since. I have no issues with my .sleep. , It's easy for me to fall asleep quickly, stay asleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated. And I've heard similar stories of people I've taught over the years who struggle with sleep and then engage in a meditation practice and their sleep improved radically.

So first thing is, a big plug for meditation. It's a great way to simply learn how to settle the mind, calm the mind, not get so pulled around by distractions and also release excess tension in the body, which is very important when you're trying to settle. But if you don't have a meditation practice, that's okay. I want to give you three steps you can use to deepen your sleep if you're struggling or to make it even deeper, if you're already sleep well. Tip number one is to replay the day.

As soon as you wake up in the morning, you quickly go into battle. Okay. That's a terrible way to put it. Life isn't necessarily a battle, but you're quickly going into this stimulation and the momentum and the to-dos your life. And throughout that, if you're not attuned and present to what's happening as it's happening, a lot of energy can get built up throughout the day.

Little problems that maybe you didn't get to resolve in your mind, sort of get pushed in the back or fill up your backpack of life. And at the end of the day, if your mind doesn't feel like it had the space to attend to and process the various things that arose, it may still be working to try to find resolution. So this step is a way for you to start at the beginning of the day and visualize yourself moving through all your various tasks so that your mind can feel like everything was addressed that needed to be addressed. It's kind of like organizing a messy room. When you walk into a room and there's so much clutter, the mind doesn't even know where to begin.

And while you're in there the entire time, it, even if you're not thinking about it consciously, there's this sense that something needs to be cleaned up or fixed. And we can have the same experience when we get to the end of our day. So much that happened, so much metaphorical clutter that we need to organize it a bit. And just touching through the various experiences in a chronological way, helps the mind feel, okay, this happened, this happened, this happened. I went through everything.

There's nothing I need to attend to right now. And now I can let go. Sometimes when we do this, though, we can get snagged on certain experiences throughout the day. So make sure that as you're replaying, you're not going into certain conversations or issues or problems that arose with the intention to fully process or fix or solve, because that can, as you can imagine, be, can take up quite a bit of time. It's more that you're acknowledging.

Okay, there's that experience. I can revisit that tomorrow. Okay. Then I went to this, then I went to this, then I had this conversation. Then I had this meal and then this happened.

Oh, that's something that I might need to attend to. Okay. We'll put that away for tonight and revisit that tomorrow. And that telling the mind that we'll revisit that tomorrow, we don't need to address that right now, just lets the more primal part of your brain soften and relax and not feel like it has to be in the background saying, remember this, remember this, remember this. It can even be helpful to write these things down.

If they do feel very important. So that's the first one, replay the day. It can be done literally in 30 seconds or over the course of a few minutes. Tip number two is inviting the body to turn off. Now, what does this mean? Because it's not like the body is actually turning off when we sleep.

I see it as offering an invitation to the body, saying, Hey, You worked hard today. You moved a lot. You grabbed a lot of things. You bent down a bunch. You digested a bunch of food.

This is your opportunity to settle, to not have to work, to turn off for a bit. It's kind of like turning off the batteries. And in my experience, the body responds really well to this, to this invitation. So how does it work? Well, I like to start all the way at my feet. And just feel, feel my little feet.

Say, Hey feet, how's it going? I don't, I might not say that, but something nice. A little embrace. Hey feet. And then say, it's okay to turn off. Turn off.

You can move up to the, the shins, the calves, maybe feel like you're breathing into that area. Breathing in and then turn off. And you could say turning off or it's okay to turn off, but something that's a gentle invitation. Now where you want to be careful with this is turn off, can sound like a command and it can come across aggressive. Even if we're saying it to ourselves without that intention.

It could easily go turn off, turn off, turn off. And that can create extra strain and stress both in the mind and in the body. So just remember that this is a, it's why I say it's an invitation. We can never force the body to do anything. We can ever force it to be relaxed, but we can invite it to.

So we moved from the feet all the way up to the top of the head. And often by the end of this, any excess tension that was there or any part of the body that still felt engaged or activated has at least had some permission to soften and relax. And this is a really important next step as we're settling ourselves for deeper sleep. So that's tip number two, inviting the body to turn off, starting from the feet all the way up to the top of the head. And this brings us to tip number three, which is to anchor your attention on your breath until you drift to sleep.

This step is important for two reasons. The first, there's a lot of research to demonstrate the connection between the breath and the nervous system. And when we're in touch with our breathing, especially if our breathing is long and smooth, it is very settling for the nervous system. And in the context of sleep that's of most importance for the body to just feel that it can relax, that it can be at ease, that it's safe to do that. And the breath is a quick shortcut to signal that to the body, to the nervous system.

The second reason why anchoring on the breath is important is because much of the time when we're struggling with sleep it's because our mind is all over the place. Caught up in the tomorrow, caught up in what's happened already throughout the day. Well, step one helps with that, but also just caught up in judgments and ideas. And I think we've all had that experience while trying to fall asleep or even in the middle of the night, how. Neurotic and obsessive the mind can be and how frustrating that is in the context of sleep.

So anchoring to the breath is not a way to totally clear the thoughts, because once we set that up as an expectation, we'll get more frustrated because the thoughts rarely go away. We're just offering more of our attention and presence to the breath. And when we notice the mind wander, we just bring it back to the breath. Wanders again, we just bring it back to the breath. And this is meditation 101.

So there's nothing radical here. But what I think is a little more unique is making the process of falling asleep a meditation in itself. So instead of trying to relax or trying to force ourselves to fall asleep, we just be with the breath. That's the only intention. Not have to clear the mind, not have to find some deep sleep-like state.

Now I'm just going to be with the breath. And that simple activity will collect the attention enough so that we're not swept around by so many thoughts. And that collected attention will also start to settle the body even more. And the beauty of this step is that you just do it until you fall asleep. And the double beauty is that even if it takes a while to fall asleep, you're also meditating.

And the research does show that meditation practice over time will deepen sleep. So even if it's not helping you immediately in the short term, you're setting yourself up more over the longterm. The best way I think to focus on the breath in this step is to feel the sensations in your belly. You can even place one hand on your belly. There's something about that that tends to be very settling.

And focus a little more on the exhale in this practice, because the exhale is often going to be the most relaxing piece of it. And it can be an invitation for the body to relax a little more deeply, settle more deeply into the mattress or the surface that you're sleeping on. Okay. So those are our three tips for deep sleep. One, replay the day.

Two, invite the body to turn off. Three, anchor your attention on the breath until you fall asleep. Okay. That wraps up our main content for today. Great being with you.

Take care.

Talk

4.4

Tips for Deep Sleep

Learn three strategies to soften a busy mind and tense body, and drift into deep sleep.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

In today's session, we are going to talk about sleep, three tips for deep sleep. More to come on that soon. For now, let's settle in together by tuning into the sound of the bells. Okay, so let's talk sleep. Sleep was a pain point for me for about 10 years of my life.

Mostly through adolescence, I struggled with sleep. I'd wake up many times throughout the night, tough for me to fall asleep, stay asleep. And my sleep always just felt light,light and surface. And I had taken sleep meds, it just made me groggy. Didn't like it.

And I started meditating, and literally within three weeks, I went from waking up over 30 times a night, only a couple of times a night. And it has been like that since. I have no issues with my .sleep. , It's easy for me to fall asleep quickly, stay asleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated. And I've heard similar stories of people I've taught over the years who struggle with sleep and then engage in a meditation practice and their sleep improved radically.

So first thing is, a big plug for meditation. It's a great way to simply learn how to settle the mind, calm the mind, not get so pulled around by distractions and also release excess tension in the body, which is very important when you're trying to settle. But if you don't have a meditation practice, that's okay. I want to give you three steps you can use to deepen your sleep if you're struggling or to make it even deeper, if you're already sleep well. Tip number one is to replay the day.

As soon as you wake up in the morning, you quickly go into battle. Okay. That's a terrible way to put it. Life isn't necessarily a battle, but you're quickly going into this stimulation and the momentum and the to-dos your life. And throughout that, if you're not attuned and present to what's happening as it's happening, a lot of energy can get built up throughout the day.

Little problems that maybe you didn't get to resolve in your mind, sort of get pushed in the back or fill up your backpack of life. And at the end of the day, if your mind doesn't feel like it had the space to attend to and process the various things that arose, it may still be working to try to find resolution. So this step is a way for you to start at the beginning of the day and visualize yourself moving through all your various tasks so that your mind can feel like everything was addressed that needed to be addressed. It's kind of like organizing a messy room. When you walk into a room and there's so much clutter, the mind doesn't even know where to begin.

And while you're in there the entire time, it, even if you're not thinking about it consciously, there's this sense that something needs to be cleaned up or fixed. And we can have the same experience when we get to the end of our day. So much that happened, so much metaphorical clutter that we need to organize it a bit. And just touching through the various experiences in a chronological way, helps the mind feel, okay, this happened, this happened, this happened. I went through everything.

There's nothing I need to attend to right now. And now I can let go. Sometimes when we do this, though, we can get snagged on certain experiences throughout the day. So make sure that as you're replaying, you're not going into certain conversations or issues or problems that arose with the intention to fully process or fix or solve, because that can, as you can imagine, be, can take up quite a bit of time. It's more that you're acknowledging.

Okay, there's that experience. I can revisit that tomorrow. Okay. Then I went to this, then I went to this, then I had this conversation. Then I had this meal and then this happened.

Oh, that's something that I might need to attend to. Okay. We'll put that away for tonight and revisit that tomorrow. And that telling the mind that we'll revisit that tomorrow, we don't need to address that right now, just lets the more primal part of your brain soften and relax and not feel like it has to be in the background saying, remember this, remember this, remember this. It can even be helpful to write these things down.

If they do feel very important. So that's the first one, replay the day. It can be done literally in 30 seconds or over the course of a few minutes. Tip number two is inviting the body to turn off. Now, what does this mean? Because it's not like the body is actually turning off when we sleep.

I see it as offering an invitation to the body, saying, Hey, You worked hard today. You moved a lot. You grabbed a lot of things. You bent down a bunch. You digested a bunch of food.

This is your opportunity to settle, to not have to work, to turn off for a bit. It's kind of like turning off the batteries. And in my experience, the body responds really well to this, to this invitation. So how does it work? Well, I like to start all the way at my feet. And just feel, feel my little feet.

Say, Hey feet, how's it going? I don't, I might not say that, but something nice. A little embrace. Hey feet. And then say, it's okay to turn off. Turn off.

You can move up to the, the shins, the calves, maybe feel like you're breathing into that area. Breathing in and then turn off. And you could say turning off or it's okay to turn off, but something that's a gentle invitation. Now where you want to be careful with this is turn off, can sound like a command and it can come across aggressive. Even if we're saying it to ourselves without that intention.

It could easily go turn off, turn off, turn off. And that can create extra strain and stress both in the mind and in the body. So just remember that this is a, it's why I say it's an invitation. We can never force the body to do anything. We can ever force it to be relaxed, but we can invite it to.

So we moved from the feet all the way up to the top of the head. And often by the end of this, any excess tension that was there or any part of the body that still felt engaged or activated has at least had some permission to soften and relax. And this is a really important next step as we're settling ourselves for deeper sleep. So that's tip number two, inviting the body to turn off, starting from the feet all the way up to the top of the head. And this brings us to tip number three, which is to anchor your attention on your breath until you drift to sleep.

This step is important for two reasons. The first, there's a lot of research to demonstrate the connection between the breath and the nervous system. And when we're in touch with our breathing, especially if our breathing is long and smooth, it is very settling for the nervous system. And in the context of sleep that's of most importance for the body to just feel that it can relax, that it can be at ease, that it's safe to do that. And the breath is a quick shortcut to signal that to the body, to the nervous system.

The second reason why anchoring on the breath is important is because much of the time when we're struggling with sleep it's because our mind is all over the place. Caught up in the tomorrow, caught up in what's happened already throughout the day. Well, step one helps with that, but also just caught up in judgments and ideas. And I think we've all had that experience while trying to fall asleep or even in the middle of the night, how. Neurotic and obsessive the mind can be and how frustrating that is in the context of sleep.

So anchoring to the breath is not a way to totally clear the thoughts, because once we set that up as an expectation, we'll get more frustrated because the thoughts rarely go away. We're just offering more of our attention and presence to the breath. And when we notice the mind wander, we just bring it back to the breath. Wanders again, we just bring it back to the breath. And this is meditation 101.

So there's nothing radical here. But what I think is a little more unique is making the process of falling asleep a meditation in itself. So instead of trying to relax or trying to force ourselves to fall asleep, we just be with the breath. That's the only intention. Not have to clear the mind, not have to find some deep sleep-like state.

Now I'm just going to be with the breath. And that simple activity will collect the attention enough so that we're not swept around by so many thoughts. And that collected attention will also start to settle the body even more. And the beauty of this step is that you just do it until you fall asleep. And the double beauty is that even if it takes a while to fall asleep, you're also meditating.

And the research does show that meditation practice over time will deepen sleep. So even if it's not helping you immediately in the short term, you're setting yourself up more over the longterm. The best way I think to focus on the breath in this step is to feel the sensations in your belly. You can even place one hand on your belly. There's something about that that tends to be very settling.

And focus a little more on the exhale in this practice, because the exhale is often going to be the most relaxing piece of it. And it can be an invitation for the body to relax a little more deeply, settle more deeply into the mattress or the surface that you're sleeping on. Okay. So those are our three tips for deep sleep. One, replay the day.

Two, invite the body to turn off. Three, anchor your attention on the breath until you fall asleep. Okay. That wraps up our main content for today. Great being with you.

Take care.

Talk

4.4

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