Another approach to rest

Gotta get more rest

Yesterday m mentioned Yoga Nidra, a yoga “version” of sleep. I checked it out, and I found some interesting info — a kind of yoga that can restore you and apparently get to the root of things that are causing you distress in your life (that’s my shorthand version of it, anyway.

The thing is that you don’t actually sleep, but you go past the relaxation phase and remain conscious while your whole physical and mental and emotional and causal body is letting go of all its “stuff”.

Okay… It sounds promising to me. I’m not sure how I feel about the more esoteric stuff, but the part about total relaxation and letting go of all the stresses and tensions sounds good to me. I’ve also heard that completely relaxing your entire body progressively for an hour is as good as four hours of sleep.

I think that sounds more up my alley. I just don’t know about all that “causal body” stuff — if I’m even understanding it correctly. There is a lot I’d need to learn to get my head around that, and personally I think I’d rather use that time to learn other things. Maybe I’ll change my mind in time, but for now, I’m looking for something more down to earth and familiar, to use in getting back some semblance of restfulness.

I slept a fair amount over the weekend. I actually slept in (till 8 a.m.) on Saturday, and then I took naps on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I even got 8 hours of sleep last night, which is nothing short of amazing. One thing that really helped was going for a swim at some friends’ yesterday. I feel so much better after a swim, and I’m going to start swimming at a lake that’s on my way home from work, when the weather gets warmer. It’s just a quick jaunt out of my way, to get to it. I pass that turn-off every day, on my way to and from work, so I can also swim before work as well.

But back to the rest. On those days when I cannot get a swim in, and I haven’t had 8 hours of sleep, I need to block time off to do some active relaxation. If I can’t find a quiet room in the building, I can always improvise and come up with something.

The main thing is that I take action.

Because although developing the habit of getting to bed at 10 p.m. every night is a noble endeavor, there’s no guarantee that that’s going to happen every night. And in order to catch up on my sleep deficit, I’d have to get 12 hours of sleep each night for something like three months, and that’s probably never going to happen.

So, I have to come up with Plan B — something I can work into each day. Something that I can use on an as-needed basis. I can take myself away for half an hour once a day (plenty of my coworkers step away for 15 minutes at a time for a cigarette, 4-5 times a day), sit and breathe, or lie down and do progressive relaxation. Either way, it can balance me out and get me back to a state/condition that works in my — and everyone’s — favor.

So, I’m getting past beating my head against the wall, trying to make up for my lack of sleep through simply sleeping. It hasn’t been working out for the past couple of months, and I need a different approach. So, here I go.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

6 thoughts on “Another approach to rest”

  1. BB – I know some seriously injured soldiers who swear by yoga nidra – its similar to the concepts of mindful meditation where in you get your brain to rest. You body will tell you when it needs to rest, its smarter than your brain.

    As for regular sleep – use your bedroom ONLY for sleep (and well, sex). No work, no reading, no Droid games, just sleep. That is the sacred sleep room; develop sleep rituals so that your mind knows it is sleep time.

    Turn the computer off a half hour before you go to sleep. Yes, its IMPOSSIBLE – but the screen (and the thinking) interferes with sleep. Turn it off, do your bedtime routine. Sit for a while taking deep breaths and practicing nidric yoga. Make sure you get excercise – aerobic at least 3 or 4 times a week. People say don’t eat before you go to bed but in fact don’t eat 3 hours before you go to bed – it will take an hour or so to digest the food and after you do you will feel more alert. So if you eat just before you go to bed you will feel sleepy, then an hour later wake up and be alert.

    The off switch is broken and you need to fix it – these things help.

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  2. I agree with the above comments. Fitting a vigorous swim or aquatic exercise is beneficial and will also help with rest and relaxation. You have a good approach to helping you feel your best. It takes about 5 weeks to actually develop a lifestyle change, so be patient with yourself.

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