On many nights, when I am finally laying in bed and ready to go to sleep, I have a challenging time turning off my thoughts. Once I lay down under the covers, I have a sense of relief, an “ah, finally in bed” moment. Then, I find myself tossing and turning, with lots of thoughts crossing my mind. My mind starts to create these Continue reading
Learning new things and about other cultures is fascinating to me. I believe in personal growth and continuous improvement. Over the past years, I have learned from my experiences, and have become a more positive, balanced, and reflective person. Guess it comes with age – and experiences (good and bad experiences). To a certain degree, I have also become a calmer person, a more understanding and accepting person. I work everyday on trying to be appreciative and demonstrate gratitude for the many blessings I have, to let go of the things I cannot control or change. In the past few years, I have adopted the motto, “As long as someone is not hurting me or affecting me (or a loved one/others) in a negative way, then I just let it be and focus on the positive things in my life.” I can only control my words and actions, not those of others. Life is short, I try to enjoy it and am trying to live in the moment, which can be hard to do with my type A personality.
In the past, I have practiced yoga and found it to be relaxing. Lately, I have had so much on my mind and find it challenging to turn off my thoughts even during yoga. My thoughts just enter my mind a thousand miles a minute, making it difficult to get into my “yoga relaxation zone.” Sometimes, it is exhausting to have so much on my mind. Exercise and yoga have always helped me de-stress, and I am hoping to get back to that place soon – where I can clear my mind and make the best decisions.
I had read about meditation before and have been reading more about it in the past few weeks. I have become very interested in the subject and am trying to learn how to meditate. The first meditation technique I learned during a class was from Brooke Bunge, yoga instructor, at Calistoga Ranch. Brooke told me to relax in a comfortable position, focus on my breathing, and either to repeat a word of choice or to count my breaths. By word of choice, she meant a word that applied to the moment, if I wanted to relax to repeat that word, if I wanted change to repeat that word, if I wanted clarity, to repeat it, you get the drift.
Since we returned from Calistoga, I have tried to meditate every night before I go to sleep. I start by laying on my back (in bed) in a comfortable position, then repeat the word “peace.” Or, if I have had a very hectic day, I repeat “relax”over and over. I place my hands on stomach so I can feel the breathing and be aware of it. I start with deep breathes and then gradually more relaxing breathes. Many thoughts drift through my mind (mostly my “to do” list, or things that happened during the day, or thoughts of things that are months away), I just try to keep repeating the word and visualizing what “relax” represents for me. At some point, when I am ready to go to sleep, I turn on my side because I can’t sleep on my back. Then, before I know it, I feel relaxed and fall asleep without the hundreds of thought continuing in my mind.
I have also tried meditating at the gym as part of my cool down after exercising. I’ll share more about what seemed like loooong 10 minutes of meditation in one of my next posts. I have also found some interesting materials to read and a meditation that will be done globally. Oprah will also be hosting a free 21-day Meditation Experience, along with Deepok Chopra. I signed up for both. I’ll write about these soon!
Have you meditated? What do you think of meditation?
I have been working on a big project at work, which has lead to longer hours at the office. It has also lead to less hours of free time in the evenings, resulting in less exercise and less sleep. This is common when a big project comes up, so I am working on a process to launch this initiative, then try to get back to a normal work schedule.
Luckily, I haven’t had too many work related events on weekends, so I am able to sleep in on weekends! When I work long hours, I am fine on Monday and Tuesday nights, but come the middle or end of the week and I am looking forward to Saturday morning, so I can sleep in! On weekends, I catch up on sleep or as it is commonly called my “z’s.” It seems to help me.
I was curious about the subject and did some research. Well, apparently you actually can’t catch up on sleep that easily. For example, if you lost 8 hours of sleep during the week, you can’t just make them up by sleeping 8 additional hours on the weekend. Plus, if you do this you’ll throw off your bodies normal sleep cycle. According to a sleep related article in Scientific American, if you have deprived yourself of sleep, for example for 4 nights, resulting in 8 less hours of sleep debt, you should either add an extra hour to your sleep for eight nights, take 20 minutes naps when you can in the coming days, or go back to your regular sleep cycle until your body eventually recuperates, which may take a while.
I found another article in Psychology Today that says you can bank sleep hours ahead of time, but not make them up afterwards. For example, if you know you have a long week coming up and you won’t be able to get 8 hours of sleep each night, try to sleep additional hours on the weekend leading to it, not afterwards. One of the articles I read, in Web Md said that sleep is as important to our overall health as diet and exercise, and it also listed the negative effects on our health if we don’t get enough sleep. Yikes, interesting information on sleep and how important it is to our health! Overall, the best advise is to sleep 8 hours per night.
Well, since I can’t always manage to get 8 hours of sleep every night, after a long week I look forward to sleeping in on weekends. I feel it helps my body recuperate from a long week! On Mondays, I feel like I start my week fresh and re-energized! This week, I am going to try to get my eights hours of sleep each night!
On the weekends that I do want to sleep in, even if I don’t set the alarm, my body wakes up at the regular time it does on weekdays. In order to try to go back to sleep, I sometimes use an eyemask which helps block out the natural light in our bedroom and helps me get a few more hours of sleep. This particular eyemask is made of very soft cotton and comfortable to wear. I try to sleep until my body wakes up naturally, which is usually an hour or two later. My hubby also helps, by trying to slip out of the bedroom quietly, even though I usually always notice when he wakes up. He rarely sleeps in.
The drawing I used for this post is one we purchased in a gallery in San Francisco about three years ago. It was drawn by an artist that specializes in making pictorials of famous sayings. One of my favorite things to do when we visit San Francisco is go to galleries and art exhibits, to walk around and enjoy the pieces. We bought this one for our bedroom and hung it by our bed. Can you see the famous saying in the pictorial? Catching Z’s! We thought it was nice for our bedroom since this is where we sleep 🙂
Do you catch up on sleep on weekends? Do you take naps? Do you use an eye mask when you sleep? Do you get enough sleep every night? I’d love to hear from you!
Do you ever find that your mind starts to wander about all the things you have to do? This seems to happen when we are finally laying down, after a long day, to try to go to sleep. Our mind starts to write this list of endless things we need to do, not just tomorrow, but this week, this month, for the birthday party coming up….for work, and on and on.
When you write things down, it helps you get them off your mind. I keep a note pad, sticky notes and pens in my night stand. This way, if I have something I need to do, I write it down. If I need to make sure not to forget a particular item in the morning as I am rushing to leave for work, like a scarf or a heavier jacket, I write it down. I stick the little note on my nightstand next to my alarm clock. This way, I see it when I wake up and it is also next to where I place my purse, so I am sure to see it before I leave the next day. Sometimes, I will even bring the sticky note with me downstairs, because by the time I leave the room & get to the door, many other thoughts have already gone through my mind and I may forget the item. Trust me, it has happened before. Having the note in my hand serves as a reminder, yet one more time 🙂 It works like a charm for me.
You may want to try it. Let me know if it works for you. Next time you are trying to get to sleep and can’t seem to clear your mind, write your “to do” list or the thing that is worrying you. It should help you get it off your mind….and clear your mind so you can get some z’s.
Do you keep a note pad or sticky notes and a pen in your nightstand? Do you use another method to clear your mind before you go to sleep? Do you use another method to remember an item you need to take with you the next day?