We know the importance of habits. Many people try to cultivate good ones, like eating healthier, reading more, and thinking positive thoughts. Here’s what to avoid and what to do when it comes to sleep.
What to Avoid: In our busy lives we sometimes don’t complete our to-do list during the daytime, so at night we try to catch up. However, planning for the next day before sleeping increases the number of our thoughts and impacts the quality of sleep.
When we spend more time in bed trying to get more sleep, this leads to tossing and turning and increased worry and anxiety related to being awake in bed. Over time, this creates an association between the bed, worry, and wakefulness — rather than sleep and relaxation.
Use your bedroom as a bedroom, not an office space. Our beds are a cue for sleep, and working in bed weakens this association. Doctors advise patients to ‘tech off’ one or two hours before bedtime and ditch their night phone habit. Watching news updates two hours before bedtime is another big ‘sleep stealer’. The act of “doom scrolling” and “doom watching” refers to constantly scrolling through bad news on social media. Both are harmful to our mental health.
What to Do: Wind- down. The human brain and mind can work at its maximum potential when it doesn’t have to multitask. Create a wind-down and bedtime routine to slow down your thought processes. Reading and meditating on uplifting thoughts and simple stretches, yoga and breathing exercises are most helpful as they prepare the mind and body for relaxation and optimal sleep.
Sleep Early. The human body is closely linked to the day and night cycle. Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is when we get the most benefit from deep sleep. After that, sleep gets more superficial.
Wake Up Early. The mind is capable of deep and profound learning when we wake up at 4 a.m. In fact, the first 20 minutes at the crack of dawn sets the tone for the rest of the day! It’s our time to rise and shine.
Sit up and remember you are a timeless, spiritual being of light and automatically God’s loving light and might enter the soul. This peaceful and quiet time we get before the sun rises creates the environment of increased clarity and energy within, which we need in order to take care of ourselves, but doesn’t happen often during the daytime. It’s the me-time and the me-and-God time that provides everything I need for the day.
The early morning hours are where we can focus, concentrate and get ahead of things without being distracted. Time becomes our friend as we pause to breathe the fresh morning air and hear the birds singing. It’s all on you now. You decide when your day starts and ends.
Resource: Peace Village Bookshop at www.peacevillageretreat.org/all-books.html.
(You can contact Sister Chirya Risely, from Owego, at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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