Lately I've been having a lot of what I refer to as 'middle aged sleep', meaning I
wake up multiple times during the night because my legs will start twitching,
I need to go to the bathroom, or put covers on/take them off to regulate my
temperature. Some times I can go right back to
sleep. Other times it takes a while, which means I don't feel well rested when
it's time to get up.
Lately I've been trying to incorporate the five-step “military method” for falling asleep in minutes. Although I don't always have success in meeting its 10-minute time frame, the steps have cut down on a lot of my tossing and turning.
The first step is to relax your face. I use a technique I learned in a meditation
class to start at my forehead and work my way down, systematically releasing
the tension from my eyes, cheeks, mouth, tongue, and jaw.
- Next, relax your shoulders, chest, and arms...biceps, triceps, forearms, and hands. While doing this I breathe deeply and imagine sinking into the bed.
Continuing down your body, the third step is to concentrate on relaxing your
stomach. It helps me to take deep yoga breaths.
The fourth step is relaxing your legs. I do them one at a time. For each, I
start at my thigh and move down to my calf, ankle, and foot, concentrating
on letting each part sink into the bed.
- Last, you clear your mind. Some nights I visualize I'm in a peaceful forest. Other times I'm watching clouds in the sky. The article suggested that if your brain just won't stop to repeat the words "Don't think" for 10 seconds. Sometimes I do that, but other times I substitute a rote prayer or mantra.