For many years I have tried to capture the essence of what being "tucked in" at night meant to me as a child. I once gathered stories from friends about how they go to sleep at night and how they were tucked in as children. I was convinced that how we finish the day impacts us in many other ways.
My original vision was to write a children's book. The actual finished product that will be released later this summer is a book for adults. I was touched to hear first lady Michelle Obama, in an interview this week, speak about their own family ritual of being tucked in at night by Barack, a ritual that includes herself.
As a child I remember the comfort I experienced being tucked in at night with great tenderness and loving by my mother. As an adult, I have created a way to tuck myself in with the same sweetness and loving.
Consciously taking ourselves to sleep at night is also the best way I know to complete the day and let go of what doesn't need to be dragged into tomorrow. In my experience, completing the day allows our bodies to rest deeply and begin the next day refreshed.
My current ritual of tucking myself in takes about 10-15 minutes. I do it once I have turned off the computer, plugged in my iPhone to charge in another room, brushed my teeth, etc. There are many nights when I think I'm too tired and I will skip this process altogether, just like I imagine my mother thinking years ago, "Honey just tuck yourself in." But my mother would always tuck me in, no matter how tired she was. That's what parents do. So I figure I deserve the same commitment to myself.
In my consulting practice, I work with executives to transform the backlog of unfinished projects and actions into completion. I often hear my clients talk about their challenges with sleeping and waking up in the night worrying with things on their minds. Completing is freedom, in my experience, and results in clarity, relaxation and peace of mind. I remember a number of years ago, a client exclaiming: "I slept for the first time in a year" after our first day of gathering and processing the incompletes in her life. I know from this and many other client experiences that completing directly impacts our quality of sleep, rest and our wellbeing.
The finishing of today allows for the newness of tomorrow. And it is a way to love and honor who we are. Take time before bed to quiet the mind and review the day; see what worked, what did not, what we might have judged that needs forgiving, what still needs completing and write it down. Include time for out loud or written statements of gratitude and appreciation for yourself and others. I also track progress on habits I am developing -- for example, consistent exercise. I end my tuck-me-in process with a blessing before turning out the light.
Completing the day with yourself celebrates you and reminds you that you are worth being tucked in with loving. And what if it is the answer you have been looking for to a good night's sleep?
The upcoming book has been recorded as an mp3 and is available for $.99 on Amazon or iTunes.
The book on ITunes
The book on Amazon
For more by Martha Ringer, click here.
For more on sleep, click here.
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