How to overcome insomnia with visualization, breathwork, and meditation
• Presents mental and physical exercises to quiet mental chatter, visualizations to prepare for sleep, and deep breathing and mindfulness meditation techniques
• Explains how to establish and analyze a sleep diary and how to retrain the body to sleep solidly
• Includes a 65-minute audio CD of guided visualizations and relaxation techniques
In A Good Night’s Sleep, Jan Sadler teaches the skills needed to break the patterns and frustration of insomnia. She explains how to overcome stress and restlessness through meditation and deep diaphragmatic breathing, how to prepare for sleep through positive visualization, and how to quiet mental chatter with awareness and physical techniques such as the “Stop/Cancel/Change” and “Shakeout” exercises.
Sadler addresses how to reduce dependence on sleeping pills, determine the amount of sleep you truly need, and, most important, how to retrain yourself to sleep soundly. She provides a two-week sleep diary and shows step-by-step how to identify and analyze any underlying daytime and pre-bedtime habits that can disturb sleep. In addition, the accompanying 65-minute audio CD presents six relaxation and visualization techniques, including Sadler’s “Peaceful Sleep Bedtime Routine,” a 20-minute guided relaxation practice designed to ease one into a deep and peaceful sleep. By revealing the keys to quality, drug-free sleep, A Good Night’s Sleep enables you to reclaim control of your sleep cycle and your life.
There are some very simple ways in which you can enrich your life and, in so doing, increase your sleep potential. When your inner self is at peace and happy with the way you are it has no need to disturb your nights in an attempt to receive attention for its needs and wants. The thoughts you think have a direct influence on the way you feel and act. The reverse is also true, the way you use your body influences your thoughts and feelings. Try this quick experiment for yourself:
Take a moment to make a mental note of your current feelings and thoughts. Now let your body sag, your head droop down, put the fingers of one hand near your mouth, gaze down at the ground. Notice how you are feeling now. Do you feel differently from how you felt before you started?
Look up to the sky, stretch your arms wide as though embracing nature, the sun, and the fresh air, relax your features and smile. How do you feel now? Do you feel differently from how you felt in the first posture?
You were only “acting,” but your thoughts and feelings changed quite perceptibly with each body posture. No doubt as a result of your body language in the first experiment you momentarily felt more downbeat and negative. In the second experiment I expect your feelings changed briefly to those of openness and of being uplifted. Your subconscious mind is open to information from both your thoughts and your body. If your body language is such that it signifies, say, elation, your mind registers that message and so reflects that emotion in your feelings. The stronger you make the body language message, the stronger the feelings will become. If you add relevant positive thoughts in the form of affirmations, the message to your subconscious mind is made even louder and clearer. This technique can truly empower you, giving you confidence and strength in many situations, particularly in your sleep. When you use this technique, although you may be acting or pretending to be something you are not currently feeling or thinking, you are not deceiving yourself, you are giving yourself instructions, or directions, as to how you would like to be. You are in charge, and you are consciously using and taking advantage of the way your mind works to bring about changes that you desire. Take a few minutes to sit or lie down quietly where you won’t be disturbed. Become aware of your breathing and notice the gentle rise and fall of your body as you breathe in and out. Let your breath out through your mouth with a slight sigh. On the next out-breath, imagine the sigh going from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. As you let the air go, feel the tension drain away. Now breathe normally through your nose and imagine yourself in a typical day . . . and ask yourself, “How would it be if I was a person who slept peacefully all night?”
. . . and imagine yourself acting as if you were a person who did sleep peacefully all night. Watch yourself as you go through your day in this new mode, the mode of a person who sleeps peacefully all night long, without anxiety about sleeping. Imagine the different way you would handle your day if you had a good night’s sleep every night. Imagine how you would be when getting up, while preparing breakfast, in any work you do, in social activities, and in your personal life. Take yourself through your day, up to the early evening. To help with the picture, ask yourself some questions, such as,
How would I go about my day? What would I be feeling? How would I look? How would I be moving? What would I do?
Now, imagine yourself at bedtime, and ask yourself the same initial question again, “How would it be if I was a person who slept peacefully all night?”
Imagine yourself acting as if you were a person who slept peacefully all night and see how you would behave at bedtime. Watch yourself as you go through your bedtime preparations and settle down in bed in the mode of a person who sleeps peacefully all night long . . . See yourself calm and relaxed, perhaps enjoying a milky drink, going through your bathroom routine, possibly having a luxurious scented bath, settling down in bed, resting your head on the pillow and allowing sleep to come to you . . . To help with the picture, ask yourself some questions, such as,
What would I be feeling? How would I look? How would I be moving? What would I be thinking?
And now gradually return your awareness to the room, feeling relaxed, confident, and positive, knowing that you can actually re-create the way you felt in the visualization at any time during the day and at bedtime when you act as though you are indeed a person who sleeps peacefully right through the night, every night.
As you go through this exercise you find by acting as though you are a person who sleeps peacefully, you become endowed with the qualities of someone who sleeps well. This has been achieved in your imagination, but, having experienced the feeling inside yourself, you have given yourself the power to be able to carry the actions through in real life. And so, take time during the day to ask yourself the question, “How would it be if I was a person who slept peacefully all night?” and allow yourself to actually be that person. At night, do the same, and allow your inner self to take care of you in the way it knows best and you will soon find yourself sinking down into a deep peaceful sleep.
Jan Sadler is author and coordinator of the highly successful PainSupport website (www.painsupport.co.uk) and the author of Pain Relief without Drugs, Peaceful Sleep and The Five Feel-Good Factors. Her pain management programs have been adopted by pain and stress management clinics in hospitals and by support groups throughout the world. She lives in England.
“A Good Night’s Sleep has relaxation and visualization techniques and other bedtime advice to help you counteract stress and sleep better. The more you practice, the more it will help.”
– Shirley Linde, author of No More Sleepless Nights and No More Snoring
"I have been an insomniac for over 20 years . . . This book has been a real help to me, and I'm sure other insomniacs out there will benefit from this system too."
– The Pagan Review, Jan 2009
"Even those who think they are enjoying good sleep can improve the quality of their sleep and find even more energy and pep they didn't know they were missing. . . . Don't miss out on this helpful guide to better sleep without medications. The techniques really work and the CD is delightful to listen to as it leads you through relaxation and visualization techniques, placing you into the proper mindset for deep, sound drug-free sleep."