Nighttime is great time to relax and unwind before a full workday. However, most people don’t prepare themselves properly for the segue into sleep. One of the most important parts of preparing for work is learning how to shut off your brain so you can get the best sleep possible.
- Clean -Believe it or not, cleaning relaxes our minds and our bodies. Because the work is so mundane and simple, it allows us to accomplish it mindlessly. Participating in an activity like cleaning, folding laundry, doing dishes allows our minds to take a break from all of the decision making and thinking that we have been doing all day. Cleaning allows us to step back and focus on the tiny details, which relaxes our brain and body. Mess and disorder cause us stress, removing the stressors can have a sedative effect.
- Reading– While cleaning allows our minds and bodies to relax, we are still moving around. Whether sweeping the floor, or folding laundry, there is still movement with our bodies. Cleaning relaxes our brains more than our bodies, so the next step is to relax the body. Reading is a great way to relax the body before bed. While reading may stimulate the mind, reading also entrances us, forces us to sit still and focus on one thing. Reading actual books is better than Kindles and tablets because the artificial confuses the brain into stimulation. Avoid these and television when you are trying to read or sleep.
- Meditate – After laundry and reading, meditation is the last thing you should do before bed. With a relaxed mind and decreased heart rate, your body is entering a state of ultimate relaxation if you finish with a meditation. You have already been conducting pseudo meditations by cleaning and reading, and now you are topping it off with a full body, full focus meditation. You will enter a deep state of meditation, winding down and shutting off the brain for the night, allowing for a more restful, productive sleep.
Conducting these activities in this order is important because they gradually decrease the amount of energy you must input. It is a gradual slowing process that takes you on a journey of pure relaxation. Avoiding the use of electronics during this time is also key, for electronics stimulate the brain and eyes in a way that tells it to stay awake. Try ending the meditation with some warm lemon water, or decaffeinated tea, right before bed. Conduct each of these steps for about 30 minutes and you will sleep like you’ve never slept before!
Max is a consultant for Point Above, a mindfulness, leadership and business coach based out of New Orleans, Louisiana.