Breathing for Sleep
Breathing for Sleep is adapted information found in Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care.
REB posture is an energy psychology and autonomic nervous system balance that calms
and soothes, creating rapid positive change in your body.
The breathing exercise below encourages you to try the REB posture while breathing for sleep. The REB posture diagram
The best tip I have about awakening during the night is to accept that you have awakened. Don’t allow the sleeplessness to anger and frustrate you. The frustration,tossing, and turning only delay sleep and exhaust you. When you wake up in the middle of the night, Radiant Energies Balance (REB) will help you get back to sleep.
I recommend that you find the easiest way to hold the posture comfortably while in bed I usually turn on my side, because the bed helps support the posture. If no other health problems exist, once your relaxation response is locked in, sleep will be less of an issue or no issue at all.
We are going to use a technique call Gap Breathing for this exercise. Inhale. Pause two or three counts. Exhale. Pause for two or three counts. During the pause, notice how quiet your mind is. There is complete silence in the natural gap between your in-breath and your out-breath. This is a great breathing technique for anyone who has trouble with a chattering mind, especially at night.
• Use the Gap Breathing mentioned above. Begin by taking a nice, normal deep breath, hold it for a second and then drop the breath into your lower
abdomen. Begin to breathe from your abdomen. Normal, deep breathing is calming.
• Breathe from your abdomen; inhale, continuing to use gap breathing.
• Begin to use the REB posture. Use bilateral squeezing if it is comforting to you. Bring the issue you are worrying about to mind and notice your body
as you breathe. Notice the areas of bodily tension and focus on them as you breathe. You can imagine that you are breathing into the stressed areas. Continue focusing and breathing until the tension reduces or disappears. Notice the next area of tension and repeat the instructions. Notice your thoughts, especially worry and fear thoughts.
• Allow yourself to relax around each troubling thought until the emotional impact is gone.
• Focus on your breath. Notice yourself inhaling. Notice the quietness in the gap at the top of your inhale. Exhale, and notice the gap at the end of the exhale. Notice your body as you let go of stress with each exhale. Notice how it feels to inhale, hold the gap, exhale, hold the gap. If you feel your mind begin to wonder, bring your focus back to the breath. Continue to breathe this w ay until you drift into sleep.
• If you haven’t drifted off to sleep after a reasonable time, notice how relaxed your body has become. Continue to focus on your breath and your breathing. Resting quietly is much more preferable than tossing and turning or getting up and watching TV. Quiet rest is very deep and very restorative. Accept your situation and rest quietly.
• Occasionally I’ll add paired words (peaceful–rest or soft–comforting) to my in breath and out breath in just the same way I add them during walking meditation. This causes a deep ANS response because you are getting the relaxation of the breath paired with the relaxing frequency of the verbal message.
Our guest blogger:
Janet Nestor, a positivity mentor, has published two uplifting books. Her newest book, Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care: A Living in Balance Guide and Workbook offers a Mindfulness Based Recovery and Rejuvenation program. Pathways to Wholeness (2010), has inspired readers to live an aware, mindful life since 2010 utilizing walking meditation and mindful breathing,
Specializing in stress reduction, Janet is a licensed professional counselor, Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Diagnostic Prescriptive Educator, Soul Detective, and natural intuitive. She works with individuals and groups, primarily by phone and Skype and enjoys guesting
on radio shows, teleclasses, and as a writer whenever possible.
If a good night sleep remains elusive for you, try:
1. skipping your afternoon cola, coffee, or tea
2. not watching television at night
3. don’t exercise after 6:00pm
4. An hour before bedtime sip on that herbal sleepytime tea or glass of warm milk
5. Do some light stretching and breathing exercises.
6. Clear your mind of things that you are either upset about or excited about. A hot bath and getting lost in a good book before sleep is a good way to relax the mind.
If we are confident in ourselves and the direction our lives are taking, we will sleep well at night, guaranteed!
Tonight’s journal writing question is simply this:
What makes me feel confident in myself and in my life?
Then, write away!
Let’s see, this is how I would answer this question tonight….
What makes me confident in myself and in my life:
1. Trying new things
2. Being excited about things
3. Doing something that I was afraid of (I did anyway despite the fear).
4. Sharing with others something I feel enthusiastic about.
5. Sharing with others my gifts and my passions.
6. Having the ability to embrace change
7. Continuing to work on myself and develop new skills
8. Knowing and having faith that God loves me and the universe works with me.
I will stop here, and permit you to start your writing.
If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh
You know you really need some sleep when:
1. after pouring yourself a cup of coffee, you put the carafe in the refrigerator rather than the coffee maker.
2. everything makes you cry or
3. everything makes you laugh hysterically.
4. you barely recognize the reflection staring back at you in the mirror.
5. people take one look at you and they know they don’t want to mess with you.
6. you don’t care about what your hair looks like
7. you don’t want to deal with wearing contacts (your eyes are too bleary and irritated).
8. you look forever for the keys that are in your pocket and the glasses that are on top of your head.
9. you forget to feed your cat (the horror)!
Yep, you’re a wreck for sure. If this remotely sounds like you, it is time to:
1. brew up some sleepy time tea,
2. eat a light supper,
3. close up the computer,
4. turn the smartphone off,
5. take a hot lavender bath,
6. light a candle,
7. get in your comfortable pjs,
8. tell your family goodnight,
9. feed the cat so it won’t disturb you,
10. slip into bed and read a book. A book? yes, a book! (I caught you…put that phone away)!
11. Soon you will be ready to turn off the lights and sleep.
Tonight, you will sleep. The cares of the world do not pertain to you tonight.
This is your time to simply check out
Good night and sweet dreams.
I would like to offer you an opportunity to submit a guest post for The Warm Milk Journal. Our readership continues to grow and is now getting over 11,000 visitors from around the world a month. We have hundreds of followers on our Facebook page and at this writing, 16,461 people following us on Twitter.
I will share and market your post as much as I would my own. If your post is published here, I expect you to do the same.
A few guidelines:
1. Familiarize yourself with our site first. Our content is a bit eclectic. We welcome anything that supports living a well balanced life by day and sleeping restfully at night. Most posts are pretty short in length.
2. Sample topics may include anything to do with: insomnia, anxiety, health and wellness, journal writing, what makes us happy, how to relax and overcome stress, spirituality, meditation, poetry, travel, bedroom design and decor, etc.
3. People I would like to hear from: any person who is challenged and has solutions for above topics, people from the health and wellness industry, medical providers such as: doctors, nurses, counselors, yoga instructors, massage therapists, chiropractors, etc., hospitality industry (hotel managers or B&B owners), travel industry, mattress companies, sleep aid products, feng shui experts, etc.
4. Note, it is fine that you have a product or service but please offer content of value to our readership. I will not publish anything that is strictly a marketing piece.
5. Your submission needs to be an original post (not published on your own site or anywhere else).
6. Interested? Please email me: Debratech@msn.com. Attach your article via an editable Word document. You may include a brief bio, link to your site, and a photo you would like me to use.
This blogging journey has been a tremendously rewarding one. There is nothing like feeling passionate about something and sharing it with others. I feel very blessed to be sharing this experience with you. I am excited to see what comes of this. We are never alone and we can always learn from each other. I think it will be wonderful for you to be able to share here at The Warm Milk Journal and for our readership to enjoy new content from different voices.
In an ideal life, I am always centered (as in, sitting on a peaceful mountain top all day centered). This is the state of mind I strive to be in but, alas, daily life and my personality come into play once in a while…
We may not be perfectly at peace all of the time but I do find it helpful to know what makes us vulnerable to anxiety. The more aware we are of what I call our anxiety “triggers”, the more effectively we can recognize the anxious state for what it is (a momentary passing state flirting with us) and get on with the business of enjoying our lives (and sleeping restfully at night).
We all have our “triggers” that make us vulnerable to anxiety. I will share with you a few of mine and perhaps you may relate to these (or if you have different ones, please feel free to comment and share)…
Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ~ Usman B. Asif
Five things that make me antsy with anxiety:
1. When I feel physically run down
2. When I am experiencing some kind of pain in my body
3. When I have too much unstructured time
4. When too many choices are presented to me
5. When I feel like I should be productive but instead I am distracted rather than focused.
There are more but I will stop with these. If anxiety is flirting with me in any of these five ways,
I often find it helpful to:
1. take a walk outside
2. get busy doing something
3. remind myself that this too shall pass
4. help somebody else
5. enjoy a great movie with my family
Goodbye, anxiety….with any luck this was a mild passing flirtation and nothing more…
Worry is a misuse of imagination. ~ Dan Zadra
Tonight, I offer you these five therapies to get a good night sleep (and they won’t cost you a penny)!
1. Walking. There is nothing like a great walk outside in the fresh air. I always sleep better if I have taken at least one walk during the day or night.
2. Meditation: It can be sitting still or part of the walking therapy (see above). A still, centered mind is what we need to sleep restfully.
3. Writing: in all forms! Journal writing, poetry, free writing, writing down our worries, writing down our questions, affirmations, etc. Just write!
4. Love: spend quality time with loved ones (including pets).
5. Cooking: I just love to pour my glass of red wine, crank up the jazz music on Pandora, and cook away. Very healing and creative and spiritual (the cooking part), Good food in belly (the eating part), sleep (the result)…
These five therapies are a good start. To be continued…
As the day winds down and I ease into the evening, I know that these thoughts will help me sleep well tonight:
1. I Am whole
2. I Am peace.
3. I Am thankful for my health, home, and family
4. I Am love
5. Anything that causes me stress, anger, resentment, jealousy…etc…is a passing, temporary condition. My permanent status is one of love, peace, grace, and wholeness (as stated above).
I am quite confident that I will sleep well tonight. I wish the same for you!
I find being in these four states of mind are most conducive to a restful night of sleep:
1. Being confident: If you are confident in yourself you will be immune to sleep-robbing anxiety
2. Faith: knowing that God loves you and that you are on the right path… God, the universe, and life support you and are working with you. With faith, there is no mountain you can not move (including getting a good night sleep).
3. Feeling grounded and centered. Meditation and spending time outdoors will really help you get in this wonderful peaceful, neutral place where life events and circumstances can not uproot you.
4. Being love and loved. Love is really all there is. If were are not in a state of love, we are in a state of fear and we will not sleep as well. Simple, right?
I would like to dedicate this post to my sweet husband and life partner, John. John, you make the fourth state of mind, being loved and loving easy. I so appreciate your friendship, companionship, encouraging me to always be my best, and your just being there. I love you!
P.S. Thank you Fawn Weaver over at HappyWivesClub.com. I just love the idea of celebrating love and honoring our husbands and marriage. Love is truly the greatest gift there is.
I usually fall asleep pretty easily initially. I can, however, count on getting woken up at least once in the middle of the night due to my bladder, husband, cat, or a dream…
I find three things usually work to get me back to sleep as quick as possible.
1. Be as still as possible. Once I start fidgeting and tossing and turning it’s all over… (and I am awake)!
2. If I was in the middle of a dream before I woke up, I try to immerse myself back in the dream (providing the dream was not too scary or disturbing). This dream remembrance technique gets us back into that dreamy sleep state fast.
3. The third thing I like to do is a conscious breathing technique. It is very simple. When I inhale I think of a one syllable word and when I exhale I think of a one syllable word or sound.
inhale: “so”, exhale “hum”
inhale: “God’s”, exhale “love”
inhale: “peace”, exhale “peace”.
This keeps my mind focused on something neutral and prevents it from beginning to wander and churn about events of the day, my to do list, work, financial worries, etc.
I wish you a peaceful and restful night (all the way through the night)!