When was the last time you turned off the TV, laptop, the I’s (iPhone, iPod and iPad) and the kids and just sat in silence and took a few deep breaths? For the most part dedicating time out of our day to sit in stillness and breathe is not what you might call ‘a good time’. For most of us unwinding in front of the tube, surfing the net and updating our Facebook status while checking the latest celebrity tweets is the ideal way to switch off from a busy day, however is our love of technology keeping us constantly over stimulated, contributing to a poor night’s sleep and increased stress levels?
The good news is it is possible to ‘switch off’ and reverse the over stimulation effects that technology and our busy lifestyles has on our mind and body.
A good night’s sleep is vital to our overall health as well as our mental and emotional wellbeing. Some nights, even though we are very tired it is difficult to get to sleep because there is so much going on in our minds. When this happens, we feel stressed and that makes it even more difficult to get some rest. The next time you’re lying in bed counting sheep consider going cold turkey on technology at least 30 minutes before bed and switching to meditation as part of your bedtime ritual.
Practicing meditation for 10 – 15 minutes each night before bed can help you get a sounder and more refreshing sleep so that you’ll have more energy and ability to concentrate in the morning. It also has benefits for people who have sleep difficulties because it relaxes the muscles and soothes the mind so that they fall asleep more easily. A regular meditation routine before bed will help to reduce your stress and anxiety, so that you get a better night’s sleep.
Meditation can be easily practiced when you create an atmosphere that enables you to focus and shut out distractions.
Find a quiet place where you’re not likely to be disturbed and remove the television, phone and other things that might cause a disturbance. Find a seated position and make sure you’re comfortable.
You can meditate in many different ways, such as using music, lighting candles and using yogic breathing techniques.
To enter a state of meditation sit silently, make sure you’re comfortable and begin to focus on your breathing, or listening to soothing music. You may like to shut your eyes and allow your thoughts to wander, visualising a calming scene such as a meadow, beach or forest.
Concentrate on your breathing. Inhale deeply and focus on each breath as the air enters and exits your lungs. Practicing this kind of deep breathing will help to reduce your stress and enhance the levels of oxygen in your system.
If stray thoughts come into your mind that interrupt your focus, just let them go and turn your mind back to your object of concentration and your breathing.
Be mindful the meditation takes practices to develop concentration and learn the techniques that work for your body, so be patient. If you make meditation a habit every night just before you go to bed, in time your sleep will become more restful and restorative and sleepless nights counting sheep will become a thing of the past.