Thought I’d share a little Dalai Lama quote with you that keeps running over in my head. Probably because I used it as my mantra before I went to bed last night…
Sleep is the best meditation
I have a huge issue with getting to sleep at night – probably not unlike a lot of you reading this! Here are the two most startling facts from the Great British Sleep Survey:
1. The ‘Racing Mind’ is the main cause of sleeplessness. The top five persistent thoughts in those with troubled sleep are:
- What happened today and what I’ve got on tomorrow (82%)
- How long I’ve been lying awake (79%)
- Trivial things of no importance (76%)
- What the future might hold (71%)
- Things that happened in the past (71%)
2. Poor sleep affects every area of our lives. Those who suffer from poor sleep are:
- 7 times more likely to feel helpless
- 5 times more likely to feel alone
- 3 times more likely to struggle to concentrate
- Twice as likely to suffer from fatigue
- Twice as likely to have relationship problems
- Twice as likel to suffer from low mood
- Twice as likely to struggle to be productive
Depressed yet? I don’t know about you but just seeing those figures makes me feel helpless!
The problem I have is that I never switch off! My mobile is constantly on and what’s worse is that these days I don’t just have to worry about a phone call or a text interrupting me… I have three email accounts linked to my phone, plus facebook, skype, instagram and twitter! Chances are that one of those will go off just as I put my head to my pillow and I will always look – my will power really lets me down in these situations!
After my mobile comes my laptop – and with it the infinite time-wasting capabilities of the internet. More often than not I go to check one website and end up browsing for hours… this is the worse thing to do late at night because you are constantly straining your eyes with the bright screen light and consistently taking in huge amounts of information every time you click on to a new page.
So I have made a new resolution! With the exception of emergencies (i.e. the night before a deadline when I realise I am 1000 words over the limit and need to cut down!) I will switch off both my laptop and phone at 11pm. Ideally I will also do 30 minutes of yoga/meditation/reading beforehand but in a house of five this is difficult to do – I like to socialise in the evenings :) I am also going to push myself in to the routine of getting up the same time every morning, regardless of whether I need to be up or not. The way I see it a lie in until 11am just means I will feel awake for 3 hours later that I would have done had I got up at 8am – and tiredness after a full and productive day is key!
In the spirit of not just sorting out my own life but also trying to inspire others, below is a gentle yoga sequence I found on youtube to relax the body before bed. I love it! Although there is some creepy echoing at the end so I usually switch the video off at that point and then just finish with corpse pose until I (hopefully!) fall asleep.