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Better Sleep: Day 2
10m

Better Sleep: Day 2

Learn breathwork, meditation, and techniques to unwind.

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[Vanessa Keranovic, Mindfulness Coach] Hi, and welcome to day two of the course "Mindfulness for Better Sleep". Today, I'm going to talk about the two modes that I mentioned in day one, doing and being. We'll go more in depth into each of these modes and how you can shift from one to the other. I will talk about how to use breathwork or deep breathing, meditation and various relaxation techniques in order to help you shift from doing to being, to help you unwind, relax and prepare yourself for restful sleep. When we rush through our day mindlessly, we often spend the entire day in doing mode. Doing mode means we are busy, distracted, working, doing something. We are projecting onto the future or onto the past. We are thinking about something, analyzing, going over something again and again. Doing mode isn't inherently bad or good. We need doing mode in order to get things done. The problem arises when we leave the thing we are doing, the problem we are solving, the issue we are analyzing, but we're still stuck in doing mode. What we need in those moments is to be in being mode. So, opposite to doing, being mode means being in the present moment, fully engaged with all our senses and not getting distracted by anything that is not in the here or now. When we are doing, we are working on our goals, building a future we want to have, but when we are in being, we are enjoying whatever we already did in doing, we are fully committed to the present moment. This is where enjoyment lies. Being mode allows us to enjoy life as it is, to appreciate life and to appreciate the fact that we are alive and breathing and fully here. In being mode, we are fully connected with ourselves, with those around us, with nature, with the universe. We can be fully ourselves and experience life fully as it is. My favorite example of how to distinguish these two modes is in doing mode, you would plant a flower, in being mode, you would stop and smell that flower and enjoy that moment. As already mentioned, both of these modes are important and have their purpose. We can truly live life to the fullest once we learn how to intentionally shift between these two states. Now, obviously we intuitively know how to go from being to doing, we simply start doing, right? The problem with most of us lies in how to shift back from doing into being. And this is where a lot of trouble with sleep comes in as well. Because after your day, after a lot of doing that you've done, you come home and you want to relax, but your mind and your body are still stuck in the doing mode. They're still solving problems, or ruminating over certain things and trying to see another solution to your problem. Another important layer to when you are in doing mode is also understanding when the things you're ruminating over are useful and when they are not, for example, solving a problem can be useful for you but you wanna schedule it for tomorrow or sometime later when you want to be in doing mode. But sometimes the things we are ruminating over are not even useful to us, because we are trying to solve things that are out of our control. We are replaying old arguments or creating new ones in our head. In both of these situations, we want to use mindfulness to wake us up from the doing mode and shift us back into being. As we shift into being, we want to either reschedule the doing part for something useful for tomorrow or the day after, or we want to learn how to let go of the things that are out of our control. Either way, with mindfulness we can practice this, refocusing back to the present moment in an open and nonjudgmental way. And there are three type of practices that I want to go over today that will help you shift into being, shift you back to the present moment and allow you to get the rest you fully, inherently as a human being deserve. First practice is breathwork, taking deep breaths where we deepen our breath, but also prolong the exhale so it's even longer than the inhale really invites calmness into our body and then into our mind as well. Just by taking a couple of deep, intentional breaths, we are shifting ourselves from doing into being. We are shifting ourselves into the present moment, where we can then fully engage with our evening routine and practices. You can take long, deep breaths intuitively or you can use counting breathing, where you count the seconds for your inhales, breath retention and exhales. My favorite two deep breathing techniques are the four, seven, eight, and the four, six breathing technique. Now, it's as simple as it sounds. The four, seven, eight breathing means you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, and then, very slowly, very intentionally exhale for eight seconds. If you can, you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. You do this for four cycles of breath, so, four times inhaling to four, holding your breath for seven and then exhaling for eight. As you get comfortable with the four cycles, you can slowly progress to eight, but not more than eight in one sitting. You can come back to this type of breathing whenever you feel like you need to and it's great when it's done in the evening when you're getting ready for bed and you're still feeling the agitation in your body. The four, seven, eighth breathing can help you deeply relax and get settled into the present moment by relaxing the body, which then relax the mind as well. The four, six breathing is even more simpler. You simply inhale for four seconds and exhale for six seconds. Just like the four, seven, eight breathing, this can be done whenever you feel like you need to, but especially recommend trying it before bedtime before you're about to fall asleep. Another mindfulness practice that you can try out before going to sleep is meditation. Listening to a guided meditation before going to sleep helps you shift from doing into being by gently refocusing your attention, again and again, back to the point of focus, which is always in the present moment. By meditating regularly, this also helps you strengthen your mental muscle of refocusing and coming back to the present moment, again and again. This mental quality also strengthens outside of your meditation practice, so you learn how to do this more easily and more often outside of the meditation as well. So, using meditation before bedtime helps you on both levels. It helps you short term by refocusing your attention back to the present moment, shifting you in the moment from doing to being and also long term by strengthening and building up that muscle of refocusing, the ability to refocus over and over again. Some other mindfulness and relaxation practices that you can try out is combining a body scan with deep breathing, with breath retention. So, as you're scanning through your body, you can breathe into the tense areas, hold your breath for as long as that's comfortable and as you breathe out, relax that area you were focusing on in your body. You can do this for every part of your body and you can be as detailed as you want to. This body scan with deep breathing is perfect for when you're lying in bed and you're ready to fall asleep. Another practice that you can do in your bed as well is progressive muscle relaxation. In progressive muscle relaxation, you slowly move through your body isolating different muscle groups and as you're inhaling, tensing up those muscle groups, each one, holding your breath, holding the tension for a moment, and as you're exhaling, releasing the tension and completely relaxing those muscles. For example, if you want to do that with your shoulders, you would inhale and as you're inhaling, you would tense up these muscles without tensing up anything else in the area, so, tensing up, inhaling, holding your breath for a moment and exhaling completely, letting go. We have come to the end of day two. Today, you learned a lot about different mindfulness and meditation practices that you can use in the evening before bedtime as a way to unwind, let go of the day behind you and relax deeply. I will see you tomorrow in day three, when we are going to dive deeply into evening rituals.

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