Come on! You know you do it too.
You lift up your blanket just enough to get right under it before all the cold air rushes in, rest your head on a fluffed-up pillow and close your eyes in preparation from sleep. You reflect on your day and think about that amazing burrito you ate for lunch.
But what’s that sound in the background, distracting you from eating your meal in peace?
Your boss is screaming at you about that thing you did wrong that totally wasn’t your fault. You should speak up and tell him you had incorrect data but you sit there and take it. Why didn’t you take it? Maybe you should have gotten up, really close to his face and expressed how the entire process is a failure. You should have explained why it isn’t your fault. You begin planning a speech that you probably won’t ever use.
You’re not going to sleep for another hour at least and when you do, you'll pass out from sheer exhaustion. So here are some ideas to help you reflect positively before you sleep and then drift off with a relaxed mind.
Switch off the lights, TV, computer, etc.
Studies show that you sleep better without stimulation from any kind of light. Television and loud music keep your brain active so you find it difficult to rest your mind when you decide to go to bed.
Breathe to relax your body.
Don’t do what she's doing. At least, not before you go to bed.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and, when you do that, push your stomach out. Then exhale through your mouth and pull your stomach in. Do this about ten times and you’ll find that your muscles are relaxing. This is a breathing technique I use not only before I sleep, but also in preparation for a presentation or exam.
Focus on blissful memories.
Another thing that helps you focus on the positive is by traveling back to that place and time when you were truly happy. Don’t choose a memory that involved excitement, but instead, try to think of a time when you were in a state of bliss. I usually think about walking on the beach alone at night in Morocco. Any time you reflect and feel yourself drifting off to a place of tension, bring yourself back to this happy place.
Are blindfolds out of style for good ol’ regular sleeping? I think so. I don’t know anyone except my grandparents and I who use them... for sleep that is. But they are a great way to force yourself to close your eyes. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to open your eyes, look around, go on your computer, and check your Twitter. Blindfolds subdue you in order to keep your head tied to the pillow and eyes glued shut.
The best thing of all is that every one of these techniques ensures that you can reflect positively for a short and sweet while before you drift away. Sure, you want to think about your day and learn how you can do better tomorrow. But it’s not the lessons that keep you up all night long, it’s the obsessive fixations that not only prevent you from sleeping peacefully, but also prevent you from being well rested and being the best person you can be the next day.
Want to reflect with us? Sign up for our Reflection & Roadmapping Workshop on December 14th!
Love to write?
Every month we select at few writers to help us explore what it means to live a life of reflection and intention. Reach out to Helen, our editor at Helen.W@holstee.com to learn more