My husband jokes that I haven’t had a good night sleep since my oldest child was born over eighteen years ago, but the truth is I’ve always been a light sleeper. Now, however, with a busy church, schoolwork and a house full of teenagers I find I can’t even get to sleep to begin with. I lie in bed, willing myself to sleep, while I find one thing after another to worry about. Ugh.
I have read a million articles about getting a better sleep. Because of what I’ve learned, my routine often includes herbal tea, a sleep mask, a cool room, no electronics, deep breathing, saying the alphabet, breath prayers and if I’m desperate, a warm bath and a set of ear plugs.
But then a friend gave me the best fall-asleep advice ever.
For years E. has found sleep by simply closing her eyes and creating a serene room. It started with imagining a beautiful bedroom exactly the way she would love it, with her favourite colours, textures and pillows (no price tags! no spacial limits! no one else’s opinion!). Now she has gone on to create an entire home where she can go and distract her mind from the day’s worries. She falls off in minutes.
I am no interior decorator. We’ve been in this house for two years and I still have no curtains in the living room. So I went outside instead. I lay still and imagined my backyard. I thought about what plants I might want to add next spring (roses? more sunflowers?). I debated in my mind whether I would put Shasta daisies (one of my mom’s favourites) here or there. I forgot my to do list entirely and the next morning declared my new technique a success!
I have always had a good imagination–too good, perhaps (in child birth classes, they told me to imagine relaxing on a beach and I immediately worried about sunscreen and sand fleas). But you don’t have to be a creative type to make this work for you. Just dream. Imagine. Let your mind’s eye surround you with fresh air, green places, beauty, anything you want.
So there is my advice for you today if you can’t sleep. Forget counting sheep (which never worked for me, anyway). Plant tulips, hydrangeas, apple trees. Sculpt flower beds, fountains, trellises. If you run out of room in your patio or backyard, take down fences and borrow space from your neigbours.
Relax. Rest. Sleep. Sweet dreams!