by Sandra Helpsmeet, The Yoga Center
1. At least an hour before you intend to sleep, turn off the computer, TV, etc. The light emitted can delay the nighttime production of melatonin.
2. Foot massage—After you have gotten ready for bed, drip a few drops of sesame oil onto the sole of one foot and rub the oil all over. Massage your foot: the sole, the top, the ankle, and the sides of the foot. Massage each toe and the webbing between the toes.
3. Nadi shodanam—This calming yogic breathing technique balances your nervous system. Sit comfortably upright. With your right hand, use the thumb to close your right nostril. Breathe in normally through your left nostril. Use your ring finger to close your left nostril and open your right. Breathe out naturally. Breathe in through the right nostril and switch to open the left. Exhale. This completes one round. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
4. Legs up—Lie down on your back on the floor with your legs upon a sofa, chair, etc. Make sure your lower legs and head are completely supported. You may want to cover yourself with a blanket, place a few folded blankets or other weight on your shins, and/or place a folded cloth over your eyes. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, or more, and let go.
5. Mindfulness while falling asleep—Settle yourself comfortably in your bed. Notice where you feel your breath. Watch it the way you would watch the current in a river. Scan your body for areas of tension; choose one, tense it slightly, then release with an out-breath. Imagine tension flowing out like water. Let the current flow through adjacent areas, flowing around tight places as a stream flows around rocks. Imagine thoughts washing away.