Most of us are creatures of habit, the comfort of tradition is the cradle which protects us, lets us grow, lets us be alive. And we are rocked in that cradle, gentled to sleep.
What are your traditions of sleeping?
Tradition 1: Sleeping on your own
Sleeping in your own bed, in your own room- that’s a tradition that many have. For generations in the past, people shared a bed, many children and adults all together in one bed. Current research shows that sleeping with another warm being helps deep relaxation, and that is from our older tradition of sleeping in a family group.
Tradition 2: Counting sheep to get to sleep
This practice of closed eyes imagination is really good for focusing attention, which can help you to drop troubling thoughts which stress your head and body. This one is an AhMen, but also good for women. It’s doubly better with the breathing practice I teach, but then, actually: don’t need the sheep!
Tradition 3: Hot Milk Before Bed.
Professional sleep enthusiast Andrew Russell
says that Hot Milk is pretty much purely psychological, even though it may have trace amounts of nutrients. But then, psychological is good, so go for it. In my opinion, milk is not a food for human beings however, especially the way it’s being produced in modern factory farms.
Better to drink chamomile tea, or valerian for a stiff one! or any warm herbal tissane. Not black or green tea, not coffee, and not dark chocolate! Who knew dark chocolate has significant caffeine to keep you awake…?!
Tradition 4: Naps and Siestas
Personally, I’m all for it. A short nap in the middle of the day can be so refreshing, especially when your dog woke you up all night long, or your child! When you’ve lost sleep, you can absolutely make it up with a little nap in the afternoon.
Siestas are a tradition in that wonderful country south of the border, and lots of areas around there. It’s a brilliant addition to the beautiful relaxed Mexican culture to have a siesta in the heat of the middle of the day, and then stay up late at night when it’s cool outside.
These cultures and traditions enrich our days and nights, so that we can indulge in the relaxation of sleep to rejuvenate and foster deep dreaming.
Sometimes, I lie down, doing horizontal meditation, and allow myself to tap into the clarity that is just beyond consciousness, in our sub-conscious and unconscious. It helps me to work out details of things I’m working on, and to consider all the possibilities of any situation. This is all completely good.
Now, some people sleep so much during the day that they miss the day. That’s something else, not healthy, and sad.
Tradition 6: 5AM waking with the roosters… or before.
Traditionally, farmers wake up really early to feed and water their animals, etc. They also tend to go to bed early to make up for it.
Now, a lot of people advocate waking early to start the day, when things are silent and you may have the house to yourself, a bit of you-time, before the rush of the day begins. That sounds good, and I used to do that when I lived in a household of busy children and adults.
Nowadays however, it’s pretty much just me, and I’ve been practicing sleeping later. I guess that’s because I enjoy writing at night, and am often up till midnight and beyond. Speaking of which, the witching hour approaches, and I am headed off!
After a round of Empatharian movement meditation, that is! Sleep insurance!