Monday, December 1, 2008

Falling asleep with a French accent

I need a lot of sleep to function properly. Always have. Usually falling asleep comes really easy to me and doesn't take more than 5-10 minutes, counting from when I lie down in bed...I have a special routine I go through at night and I've been doing the same thing for ten years or so. More or less.

I lie down on my back. Tuck a pillow under my knees. Pull up the duvet high, making sure that all body parts are covered. Either stretch out my arms along my body or keep them on my stomach.

And then I relax. This used to be "just plain relaxing" until I got a feeling of "sinking through the mattress". Then I turned to my side and fell asleep. I do it a bit differently now, since last summer.

To make sure my body is relaxed I go through it body part by body part repeating the following sentences in my thoughts/my head:

I relax my [body part].
I relax my [body part].
I relax my [body part].
My [body part] is relaxed.

By using an "active mode" in telling myself to relax a certain body part, I sort of feel that part actually relaxing as I think about it. Repeating it three times makes for long enough to relax. And then confirming the relaxation makes it easier to wander to the next part.

I don't always go through my body parts in the same order, but I mostly do this:

feet, ankles, calf muscles, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, butt, fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, upper arms, neck, jaw, lips, tongue, cheeks, temples, forehead, eye brows and finally my eyeballs.

The funny thing is that I do it all in English. With a slight French accent.


See, I picked up this routine in a yoga ashram in France last summer. The male swami who did asanas with us, and also the final relaxation, had this wonderful accent with a melody that was just perfect for calming me, my muscles and my thoughts, down. These sentences are so connected to his voice, that I hear it as soon as I start.

The swami included some of the inner organs as well; such as the spleen and the pancreas. I leave those out as I feel silly trying to relax my inner organs... (The eyeballs aren't too easy either, but I need some challenges, don't I?)

How do you fall asleep? Do you have a routine?


Jen said...

Mmm...that does sound relaxing!

Yes, I have a routine. ;) I usually fall asleep on the couch while waiting for Justin to finish his homework! Then I stumble with him into the bedroom, take my medicines, and shlump into bed, fooling myself into believing I'm going to read. Hee. Justin usually has to turn off my lamp as he's getting into bed. Isn't that ridiculous?

Geek Knitter said...

I find that slow deep breaths usually do the trick for me. I'll breathe in counting "one" in my head, then out on "two," and so on until I reach "ten." Then back to "one" again. I don't often make it through six of those. Of course, some nights it's just impossible to get to sleep, and I end up back on the couch with the most boring book I can find.

zandria said...

I think that sounds like a wonderful way to relax. I have a bit of trouble falling asleep sometimes (mind racing!), so I bet that technique would help. And I'll have to make sure to incorporate the French accent! :)

Anonymous said...

What a good idea to share this "sleeping formula" in your blog...from one of many of our fantastic adventures! -Shell