There are many different types of “sleep aids” available to help people sleep once they get to bed. But sometimes people don’t know that they can improve the restfulness of their sleep by better preparing for sleep. Much like a home cooked meal tastes better and is more nutritious than a frozen entree, properly getting ready for bed can lead to a much better nights sleep than trying to switch from “day mode” to “sleep mode” in a couple of minutes.
It is best to get ready for sleep at least an hour beforehand as there are three different “sleep bodies” that must be prepared for a good nights rest. They are the outside sleep body, the physical sleep body, and the mental sleep body.
The “outside sleep body” is your sleeping environment including what you wear and where you sleep. Preparing your outside sleep body means getting your outside as comfortable and prepared as possible for a good nights rest. This means making sure your bedroom is as relaxing and calm as possible. It should be dimly but comfortably lit. If possible there should be no TV in this area or at least no TV watching an hour before bed. The bed, sheets and pillows should be clean and comfortable. And you might consider a warm bath or shower before going to bed. If you sleep clothed, make sure that what you wear is clean, loose fitting and comfortable as well. This will prepare your outside sleep body for a good nights rest.
The “physical sleep body” is your flesh and blood body. Preparing the physical sleep body means getting your physical being in the best state for a restful sleep. Your digestive system is one place that can be put in a restful mode by avoiding eating or drinking (especially alcohol) in the hour before bedtime. If you have eaten a big meal or are metabolizing alcoholic beverages right before bed, even after you fall asleep, your body will still be “working” while your mind is trying to rest. Why have half your body working when the other half is resting? Your muscles can also be prepared for a good nights sleep. If you exercise regularly, doing a light workout or stretching an hour or two before bedtime can also help promote a better sleep. Alternatively some light activity such as a short walk or simply deeply breathing for a few minutes can help your physical sleep body prepare for a restful night.
Finally the “mental sleep body” must be prepared for sleep. This means focusing on restful thoughts rather than stressful or worrying thoughts. If possible avoid arguments or intense conversations with your spouse or children. Other mentally stimulating activities such as watching TV and playing video games should be curtailed in the last hour before bedtime. If you meditate or pray a good time to do this is right before bedtime to calm the mind and get into a relaxed state.
Once you have prepared all three sleep bodies for a good night sleep it’s time to go to bed! Hopefully by following these helpful principals you can have a deeper and more restful sleep.