Bedtime Reset to Calm This easy to learn embodiment practice guides you in resetting your nervous system to a safe mode each night so you can rest deeply through the night.
If you do this practice regularly, you will sleep more peacefully, and wake up feeling better than ever, ready to bring your most engaged and loving self forward to meet the day.
Sleep is so important to overall wellbeing. Researchers estimate 45% of Americans have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. Similar numbers are found throughout the industrialized world.
Stress is a natural part of living an engaged and fulfilling life. Yet it is all too easy to take that unresolved stress and tension from your day into your sleep.
On the other hand, when we have healthy sleep, the night brings about deep healing and rejuvenation on every level. Sleep is meant to be a daily reset for every part of us… body, mind, and soul.
After a stressful “fight, flight, or freeze” response has occurred during the day, your emotions may calm down and you know the threat, real or imagined, has clearly passed. Yet, even if you know you are now safe, your nervous system, brain, and body often stay on alert long after the initial event that triggered the “fight, flight, or freeze” response has passed.
Until the nervous system is reset, we carry the residual tension and anxiety from the challenging situations we face during the day into our sleep at night. We have all tossed and turned our way through nights like this.
One of the essential elements to getting a good night’s sleep is feeling safe, physically and emotionally. We are hardwired to feel safer when our sense of touch is stimulated. This goes way back to infancy, when it was imperative that we were touched and held. We couldn’t have survived without being touched and held. Feeling loving touch insured that we were safe and being cared for.
Loving touch encourages a deep feeling of safety in your body. That’s why self massage is included in this nighttime practice.
Massage fosters this natural association between feeling safe and physical touch. It is especially important to stimulate this sense of touch if you regularly sleep alone.
Begin this practice when you have turned out the lights and are ready to go to sleep. This entire practice takes just a few minutes, and is well worth every moment of your time. And this practice is extremely forgiving. There isn’t a precise way to do it. I’ll give you some guidelines, but it is up to you to make it your own. Give more attention to the parts that feel best to you.
This embodiment practice is meant to feel good and to be deeply relaxing. Enjoy the process. Make it something you look forward to each night. I love that yummy feeling of settling into bed at night, and this practice makes it even better.
Bedtime Reset to Calm...
This practice starts with self massage. The first step is to firmly massage your scalp using the fingertips of both hands. Be sure to massage the base of the skull, and your temples. Massage yourself in whatever ways feel good to you.
Next, move to your jaw area. Open and close your jaws a few times while massaging the area on both sides of your jaws. You may start yawning here, which is a positive indication that you are releasing tension.
Move to your ears next. Begin by gently massaging and pulling both ear lobes, then gently massage the outer rim of the ear, moving upward and downward a few times, then return to massage the ear lobes.
Next, place your index fingers just in front of the flap that covers your ear canal. This is called the tragus. When you hold down this flap it temporarily blocks your ear canal. Simply hold this point for a moment and then release it. This may also induce yawning, which is a good sign that you are more deeply relaxing. This sends waves of good feelings through your whole body.
Firmly squeeze and massage both arms at the same time while moving up and down the arms several times. Use your right hand to massage your left side at the same time you are using your left hand to massage your right side.
Gently massage both breasts. Yes, you got that right. This is an area that often gets neglected. It is so important that this area of your body gets regular love and attention. When your breasts are massaged all kinds of powerful anti-aging and feel good hormones, like oxytocin, estrogen, and prolactin, are released through your endocrine system. Breast massage can also stimulate the release of toxins through your lymphatic system. So just do it and enjoy it!
Now move down to your legs, massage from the thigh down to the calf on each leg.
Move your attention to your feet. Massage one foot with both hands, then the other foot. Be sure to massage the heels first, and then move towards the front of each foot, and then do the whole foot.
Now lay back into a comfortable sleeping position. Support yourself with pillows if this is more comfortable for you.
Once you are comfortable, bring your attention to your heart center, a sphere of energy at the center of your chest. Rest there and find feelings of self love and compassion.
Silently say to yourself: “Right here, right now, I am safe.” Simply repeat this to yourself as you fall asleep.
If you have any mind chatter, bring your focus back to your heart and soothe yourself by repeating, “Right here, right now, I am safe". Imagine that you are saying this to every part of you, even the ones that are still caught up in the unresolved tensions from the day, or last week, or last year.
You may want to add some variations to this kind of soothing inner self talk: “Right here, right now, every part of me is safe.” “Right here, right now, all is well.” “I am safe. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.” “I am safe and warm and cozy.” “It is safe to go to sleep now.”
Continue to repeat, “Right here, right now, I am safe”, as you drift off to sleep.