On Thursday night I began a rather impromptu experiment of a sorts. Before lying down to go to sleep, I sat on the floor and stretched. I stretched, I practiced deep breathing, and I pushed thoughts out of my mind as they would come. I straightened out my posture, I paid attention to my breathing patterns and muscles, and I was just with myself. Normally, I just quickly pray before tossing and turning, awaiting sleep while myriad thoughts cross my mind. Adding in this quiet relaxation technique, just being with myself for a few moments before bed, actually resulted in a fairly quick journey into slumber. I woke up feeling a little better than usual — I won’t lie and say it was the best sleep ever, but it was better than it’s been in quite some time. For three nights in a row, I practiced this relaxation technique, and each night resulted in a shorter period of time before falling asleep.
Then last night I got distracted by too many other things — watching a show with my husband among them — and didn’t really feel like taking the time to go through the process of stretching, breathing, and mindfully clearing my mind. It took forever to fall asleep, just like always, and I tossed and turned throughout the night. Now aside from my anecdotal evidence, I know there are plenty of sources the cite the health benefits of stretching before bed. Clearly, they’re right. So tonight I’ll be sipping my lukewarm chamomile, stretching, breathing, meditating, and praying before I call it a night. Life is rough when you’ve got three young kids full of bundled up energy, and it is so worth it to take the extra time to help recharge. After all, tomorrow it all starts again, and it’s better to feel in top form than to feel sluggish.