I love sleep. My bed is without a doubt in the top ten list of my favorite places to be. I always thought I might grow out of it, but even as a twenty-something I require a solid 8 hours of sleep. Worse, if I get a late start going to bed, I always end up sleeping in. While I'm akin to a dead body all night, it's that getting-to-sleep thing that I get tripped up on. Anxious-minded people, where you at? If I ever can't seem to conk out fast enough, there's one trick I use that always gets me to sleep.
Maybe your brain is like mine and it's hard to shut off at night. You mull over your to-do list more than twice. You get anxious about things that haven't happened yet (and that you know deep down will never happen). You do that thing where you play over past arguments in your head, only this time you're winning! Whatever is happening in your head, it just doesn't stop. While most of the time being unable to fall asleep can be attributed to an active brain, sometimes it's as simple as just not being tired. This sleep trick works regardless of the reason, because it's a combination of distracting the mind and relaxing the body.
I learned this sleep trick as a kid from my mom (wise woman), and it's basically worked for me my whole life. If you're having difficulty falling asleep, it won't hurt to try it out yourself.
The Sleep Trick
This sleep trick is part meditation, part mental distraction. The goal is total body relaxation. The trick is that attempting to meet this goal puts you to sleep before you can ever get there.
You start with your big toes. Focus all your energy on making your toes as relaxed as possible. That might mean changing positions, wiggling your legs, straightening your knees - whatever you need to do to make your toes the most comfortable that they have ever been. Focus on calming the nerve endings. Let your toes sink towards the bed as deep as they can go. Keep relaxing until your toes are calmer than they've ever been.
Once your big toes are totally relaxed, move to the rest of your toes. Mentally focus on bringing that same feeling of total relaxation to the rest of your toes. After that, move to your whole foot. Feel the weight of your relaxed foot sinking deep into the mattress.
Continue this process of focus and relaxation up your whole body. If an area of of your body gets twitchy or uncomfortable, go back and refocus that calm energy.
When I do this sleep trick on my own, I never make it past my knees. It's always lights out before I can even begin to relax the rest of my body.
That's how I get to sleep at night - what about you? Share your sleep trick in the comments to let other restless people in on your secret. Sweet dreams!