Disturbed sleep not only weakens the body, it also disturbs the mind a lot and meditation becomes dull & sleepy. If you are serious about health (physical & mental) and meditation, you cannot ignore inculcating healthy sleep habits. Hardest one may be keeping the mobile away from bed when you go to sleep, but it is a must.
Other easy ones are:
- Avoid drinking Tea / Coffee / Soft drinks
- Eat soft & light dinner before 7:30 PM, so that, by the time you go to sleep, food is digested, and stomach and digestion glands are at rest.
- Avoid drinking lot of water in the night, not to get disturbed in the middle of the sleep with urination urgency. One glass of lukewarm water before sleep is good enough.
- To calm the mind, read a few pages of some good books or spend some time with your loved ones – parents, siblings, grand parents. . . . , (with spouse – take care – it should be sharing kind of talk, not arguing – which is most common)
After lying down on the bed, till you fall asleep, try the following one by one.
- Take 11 deep ujjai breaths, counting down from 11 to 1
- Feel the presence of your beloved Master / God very close to you. Or imagine yourself as a small baby, sleeping in the lap of God / Master, while God / Master is looking over you with his infinite love.
- Practice forgiveness, to remove victim consciousness or culprit consciousness from your mind, which robs your sleep. Whole heartedly forgive those who made you suffer. Ask the God / you Master (Guru) / the people whom you made suffer – by mistake, to forgive you.
- Rhythmic chanting of any mantra (like OM, AMEN, AMEEN, Om Namah Shivaya), in the mind, not aloud, not even moving the lips.
- Mentally listen to the sound SO while inhalation is happening and HUM while exhalation is happening, as long as you feel like.
- Affirm yourself, that you are going to have a deeply relaxing sleep and you will be fresh when you wake-up.
- Practice yoga nidra. Scan the body mentally, from top of the head to toes or toes to top of the head and back to toes. While moving the attention to a part take a deep breath and move on to next part.
After trying all the above, you are still awake means, you don’t need to sleep. Get up, read books or do some work.
Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) at Bodhi Yoga Institute, Hyderabad, India