Ride the Elevator to Better Sleep
Do you know those big skyscrapers in the city? The ones when you’re standing on the street looking up, you can’t even see the top?
Imagine the elevator in that skyscraper.
It starts on the ground floor in the morning.
Then, as you go about your day, encountering stressors, the elevator begins to rise: Child sluggish to get out of bed, up to the 5th floor. Slippery roads on the commute, rising to the 20th floor. A difficult work phone call, up you go to the 40th floor. A high carb, high fat lunch, on 60th floor. Working too long without giving your body and mind a break, to the 80th floor.
Do you see where I’m going here? The elevator is your physiology.
Stress sends it higher, turning on calm brings it lower.
And calm, peaceful, drifting to sleep physiology is on the ground floor.
The trouble is, we often crawl into bed at night and ask our minds and bodies to go from the 80th floor to the ground floor immediately.
But our systems don’t work like that. If we go to bed when our physiology is still on the 80th floor, chances are we will toss and turn because our system is still full of stress chemicals that are designed to keep us awake.
So we need to nourish our physiology with calm.
Sleep is a 24-hour cycle and we need to prepare the body for sleep all day by turning on calm not just at night before we go to bed but a little and often throughout our day.
Calming our physiology throughout the day may include a small meditation at lunch, a short walk after work, deep breaths on a break, snuggling with the cat, laughing with a friend, listening to relaxing music, hitting the gym or arriving to your yoga mat, or pausing for a moment when fatigued.
There are innumerable ways to turn calm on throughout your day, experiment and find what works for you. Because if you do turn on calm, a little and often, it is easier for your system to go to sleep at night. You’re not starting at the 80th floor when your head hits the pillow and you may just get more of the most magical elixir of all: deep, deep sleep.