Last updated on April 29, 2021
You’re lying in bed.
Can’t sleep (or get back to sleep).
A thousand thoughts whirring.
None of them friendly.
There are LOADS of somatic and energetic practices you can use for better sleep (you can access some of them free HERE) but today’s tip is simply to use your imagination.
It’s generally easier to work cognitively (with our minds) when feeling OK enough so if you’re really agitated or anxious, this simple practice can be a positive prelude:
Inhaling as you tense your thighs and exhale as you release for a few complete breaths, keep bringing your mind back to the breath as you inhale tense and exhale release.
Now it is likely to feel much easier to work with your thoughts and imagination and the repetition of inhaling and exhaling while tensing and releasing the thighs will have burned off some excess stress hormones, likely leaving you feeling more relaxed and at ease – it’s a way to honour the fight/flight reflex from under your duvet.
Notice whatever you’re thinking about when you imagine tomorrow.
How tired you’re going to be?
Congratulate yourself for making these unhelpful imaginings conscious and use that imagination of yours to create a very different picture.
What would be your ideal time and way to wake up?
Imagine it fully?
Use all your senses.
What are you up to tomorrow? What do you imagine as being the best possible morning ahead for you?
Again, make it as vivid as you can.
You might have to keep bringing your focus back as you get distracted thinking about the more familiar worries and woes on those well worn neural pathways.
Congratulate yourself each time you bring the focus back to your ideal tomorrow.
What about lunch?
Who are you with?
What are you eating?
What’s the best possible outcome you can imagine right now?
And the evening?
Simply using your imagination to create images and thoughts about what you hope for – even if there’s an enormous gulf between what you’d be hoping for and what you’re actually expecting – is likely to relax you enough to allow the parasympathetic branch of the ANS (autonomic nervous system) to kick in with our much needed Rest / Digest response.
AND, even where there are discrepancies between your Ideal Tomorrow and More Likely Tomorrow, everything is information
You might even want to make a few notes as you trouble shoot as a result of imagining beautiful, restful outcomes.
As with everything, simple doesn’t necessarily mean EASY but it’s a practice you can make habitual.
Anytime you struggle to get back to sleep (or feel stressed during the day), give your system a bit of a break by imagining everything as it might unfold in an ideal world.
You can access more information and resources for better sleep HERE and, of course, get in touch if you’d like more support