Sleep is a funny creature. All day long the fight to stay alert is hard pressed and the quiet thoughts of slumber are all that you can do to flush them from your mind. Thinking some time during the afternoon how simply amazing it would feel to lay your head down on a soft fluffy fresh smelling pillow for just a few minutes even. But it’s not something you indulge yourself in so that maybe tonight you’ll sleep. All night.
Rushing through evening obligations and dinner with one thing in mind. Evening tele within the family is almost more than you can bear, another repeat of Law & Order or CSI is certain to put this head into complete a nod by dessert time. Maybe just skipping dessert and heading off early is an idea?
No… going to bed before 11pm is likely to result in sleeping for maybe an hour, maybe two. Why when the body cannot hardly stay upright, eye lids refuse to stay open, and a head that sits on a neck that starts feeling thinner and weaker as each moment passes? The head feeling as heavy as the most righteous jack-o-lantern ever to be scored. Holding out to 11pm feels like a hardship. Something seemingly impossible to achieve,
The clock hands ticking by and laughing all the while knowing its cruel and timeless game making it more difficult to keep them peepers open.
As the hour hand on the clock is approaching 9pm it occurs that a hot soak in a bubble bath will help along tonight’s agenda of slumber. Choices are always a women’s best friend. There are bath salts, bath beads, bath crystals, and bath oils in the stash for a soft body. There are also just as many fragrances if not more. Each creating its own special therapy provided by its aroma. lavender, chamomile, vanilla…. and the lovely brushes, sponges, and soft terry cloths that we use to scrub our skin till it shines are all the weapons of not just beauty alone, but for beauty sleep as well. Choosing the right one for an evening date with the Sleep Angel is not something that should ever be tampered with once your successful potion has been mastered.
After as many minutes wasted as possible setting up this beauty sleep routine; the bath ran with just the right temperature.
The room is set about with scented candles, and a cup of chamomile tea to sip while soaking up the hot scented and oiled water. Soft new age music playing ever so gently in the back ground. I personally like anything with the Pan Flute being played. A personal fave is by Ann Licafer her Cd ” Wind and Butterfly ll”
No hygiene rituals allowed on this night. No shaving the legs, manicure or pedi’s for this evening. This is all about relaxing. This is medicinal. making your body temp as warm as you can stand it, and for as long as you can stand it for. The idea is not a tub so hot that you are barely able to put a foot in let alone a body. The point is to have it as warm as you are able to stand it to get in, then once in let a bit of the water out. Its cooling off already and as your body aclimates start adding hot water to get the temp up to where you can hardly take any more heat.
Lay back against the bathtub pillow and just soak and breath. If you have no bathtub pillow a rolled up bath towel will do just as nice. Laying back into the tub and relaxing requires you to be able to rest your head and neck too. This is the purpose of the pillow.
I have a neck and body pillow made just for the tub. And would never do without the neck.head pillow ever again.
There would be no point to this kind of bath without something behind your head and neck. The next thing to add to this bath requires that your head and neck are comfortably relaxed. No tight tense muscles in your upper torso are allowed. Defeats why you are doing this right from the get go. So if you find that after checking in with how relaxed your shoulders are. and find them resting just below your ears, its time to first do some relaxation techniques. Fine tune a bit of relaxation techniques first.
If you have shoulders like mine that tend to climb rather than descend I think you may find this simple 30 second tip something valuable. I did. You can do it anywhere you like. It may look odd to some, but there are few places I find formal enough that would stop me from practicing this pose. Either sitting or standing raise your arms above your head, clasp your palms together as if praying (you may add prayer to this pose, but that’s between you and spirit) Now holding your palms together press your arms together at the forearms. So that you are bringing your elbows in to touch. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times. You should feel a lovely gentle stretch across your shoulder blades and down in to your thoracic’. Doing this will make your shoulders fall back down where they belong, below your chin and neck. Really! This is where they are supposed to be. I know, shocked me too.
Now that you are in the tub, muscles relaxed the next technique you’ll use is Deep Breathing. Yes, you read right, Deep Breathing. If this is something you are familiar with feel free to move on down to the next paragraph. And I do mean slow deep breating folks.
Everyone thinks they know how to breathe until they find they don’t. Remember we hit on carrying your shoulders up to your ears? All chest breathers are notorious for carrying their shoulders to their ears. I know. I am one. If you are doing this I bet you also are breathing from your chest. This is causing you to not breath in the clean O you need, as well as you are not expelling the bad CO2. If you are dealing with any kind of chronic health issues this one excercise on breathing correctly could be beneficial in many ways.
To learn how lay on your back. Relax. Think of some place pleasant you like to be. Imagine being there. Close your eyes and begin to think of your place and just relax. Take one hand and lie it on your stomach. Is your hand moving up and down as you breathe? Or does it rest pretty steady in one place? Is your hand moving as you breathe? If so, next moveyour hand to your chest. Relax, think of your place. Is your chest moving up and down as you breath? Yes?
If you are breathing from your chest as most o usf have done all our lives it will take just a minute to teach yourself to breathe instead from your stomach. To breathe correctly. Doing so will be giving your body the proper oxygen in needs, but will also relax those shoulders. It’s almost impossible to breathe from your stomach and have shoulders to your ears at the same time. I’m not going to say it is impossible for someone will cleverly prove me wrong. But for our purposes I can guarantee that if you practice laying on your back, relaxing, and breathing from your stomach you’ll find you are able to relax easier. Using imagery it will take you to your fave spot faster and your entire body and mind will relax like you have never known it to. I taught my daughters this relaxation technique when they were young children. They never had one problem falling asleep.
Back in the bathtub. Practicing Deep Breathing. Imagining you are in that fave spot. In my case I am floating on my back in a warm ocean of water. I feel my body slowly falling more and more relaxed until I feel nothing but vast emptiness. Nothingness. My mind is blank, empty of all thoughts but one. The ocean water. ‘I’m soon feeling just the wave of the tide.
Once your body feels too warm to continue. This is the time to get yourself out of the tub and gentle dried off and into bed. This is key. Don’t dwaddle about cooling off. Don’t use this time to lay clothes out for the next day. Don’t even open your computer if your true goal is slumber. Monitor lights from computers can reset your circadian clock. So sleep and computers do not mix. Trust me, if you have to work, have a deadline per say, just accept that if you have trouble sleeping anyway that you’ll likely not be sleeping much on nights such as those. And don’t try to sleep for any real time.
Crawling into bed and under the covers is what is going to start the process in your body that will help bring on that much desired and needed slumber. As your body cools off its natural nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters control whether we are asleep or awake by acting on different groups of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. As our body cools the messages being given to our brain is sleep. Sweet and satisfying slumber.
Sleep well, Dream deep.