The Best Bedtime Story

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April 12, 2011

Have you ever spent a night trying to fall asleep but, instead, tossed and turned, lying awake, regurgitating the events of the day or, my specialty, stressing out about everything you need to do in the next 24-hours?

Being the major stress queen that I was (Okay, I’m still a bit of a stress queen, but yoga has really helped put it in check), I have spent more nights than I care to admit in a hellacious fit of exhaustion, unable to let go of the angst, the rampant monkey in my mind going wild, prohibiting me from getting a few precious hours of sorely needed rest.

Well, I am happy to report that I have some groundbreaking advice to share on how to relax and get a peaceful night of sleep. I wish I could take credit for this wisdom, but I have to give props to Professor Azaad S. Khaira (The Laugh Doc), a certified laughter yoga teacher who shared this sage advice at a recent laughter yoga class I attended.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night it is likely due to the fact that you just can’t shrug off the pressures of the day and all of the items on your to-do list for the following day. Before going to bed, Azaad suggested spending a few minutes focused on removing all the thoughts and stresses of the day from your mind. Next, spend a few more minutes bringing in positive thoughts and affirmations.

Azzad cautioned that this might not help with sleeplessness right away, but he challenged us to try it for a month and guaranteed we would sleep better. At first, I wasn’t sure about this method, but I have given it a try, and I’m here to tell you it works. I just spend a few minutes each night erasing the story of my day and then writing and reading a lovely story to myself about what I want the next day to bring. It’s the coolest and most relaxing bedtime story I can imagine.

If I can embellish on Azzad’s recommendation, I’d like to suggest some focused breath work along with this exercise. Get comfortable in your bed and sit upright as you start to take some deep inhalations and exhalations through the nose. Breathe in love, breathe out fear. Breathe in joy, breathe out stress. You can be as self -indulgent as you like with your affirmations; just try to mix in a little gratitude and send out a little peace and love to the world. Focus on your breath as you let go of the day, and then start to bring in positive affirmations or things you would like to manifest in your life. Just put it out there in the universe and you never know; it may just find its way back to you.

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Elise April 12, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Thanks! I’m a huge fan of setting intention in class but this is a great way of reminding yourself to settle in before sleep and quiet the mind. I can’t wait to try it tonight.

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Cathy April 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM

It’s 11:54pm. I am on my way to do this …. right………..now!!!!!

Thanks Maria!

C.

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David Magone April 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Great article! Making your exhales double the length of your inhales for five or ten minutes while focusing on the center of your chest really helps too. The breathing slows down your heart-beat, and the downward focus takes you out of your head. It takes a little practice, but it can really help if you’re having a hard time crashing out.

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