Lately, we’ve added a pretty cool way to get a good night’s sleep to our repertoire that just seems to go hand in hand with the season. It’s spring and the flowers are blooming, birds are singing and it’s nice and green where we are. As I write this, there’s a gentle breeze moving through the trees and my dogs are lying by my side, completely at peace. The sounds outside are lulling and calm rather than roaring and intense — I can hear the Earth going through its natural dance and I feel completely at ease.
This is the new ritual that’s made sleeping that much better. Taking walks out in the yard, turning off all media in the house and just listening to the world outside, noticing the different colors of spring, appreciating the beauty around me and even taking stock of something as small as the return of warm, green smells. Every bit of this slows my heart rate, opening my mind to some of those things many of us tend to overlook while racing around at a frenetic pace in our daily lives. “Stop and smell the roses” is one of the oldest sayings because there’s something to that. And sharing a little bit of what we do each day that brings us a blissful slumber — something anyone can do, anywhere and anytime — seems like a nice way to spend some quality time.
“Pleasant day. Pretty sky. Life goes on. Here I lie. Not bad. Not bad at all.”
When I was a kid, I would lie on the back lawn, looking up at the sky, watching the clouds go by. I would take them in and feel the sun on my face, and just be. Little things were fascinating — the way a caterpillar would move across a leaf (especially the fuzzy ones), the sounds of the birds chirping, water flowing through a garden hose, distant voices on a radio or next door. We’ve all had those moments as kids, our little escapes that belong only to us and take the edge off of whatever may be causing us stress, worry, concern — you name it.
Lately, I’ve been doing the same thing. Sitting outside in the sun and just being in nature, taking it all in without any need to rush off anywhere or do anything in particular. Slowing down, I guess is the best way to put it and really just be in the moment but especially, be in the light. We’ve talked before about how important it is for your circadian rhythm to be outside — natural light jumpstarts it, after all. But being outside also helps your overall well-being, which is a massive plus no matter how you look at it. This doesn’t mean you have to find a way to get to a park right away or gardens. Something as simple as just walking down your street to see some trees, take in flowers, feel some semblance of an open space brings you peace and restores your soul. Heady stuff, I know, but pretty real.
Just as much as indulging in nature directly, however, is slowing your mind. That’s one of the benefits of being outside, taking walks or simply turning off all of your media and sitting in the moment. Letting whatever come to you, come. Even thinking about the good things that happened in the day, remembering a good memory, or just breathing gently in and out with your eyes closed to calm your thoughts and heart helps you feel better and, yep, sleep better.
“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.”
Night has fallen and with it comes its own unique way to entrance and soothe you. Crickets, stars, moonlight, different smells — it’s like a whole new world to discover as you continue enjoying life’s little gems. There’s a calm that comes from the day ending and in that, you can feel the air change and your body naturally gives into it. Even if you fashion yourself a night owl, how we move after sundown prepares us for going beyond the day and into rest. The energy has its own way of shifting and with that is the chance to become a part of the night and relax into it.
Feeling those tiny moments, looking to them as a way to calm your brain is nature’s way of saying, “Good night, sleep tight.” Focusing on something as simple and wondrous as how the stars align, the lulling tune of wind in the leaves, the echo of cars miles away traveling across silent distances — all of these take our minds off of those things that stress us. Simple, right? It places us in a state of ease as opposed to worry; relaxation as opposed to tension. And that makes it easier for us to sleep peacefully and soundly.
Embracing the small stuff
Our bodies and minds are already attuned to nature. We are, after all, organic beings and our internal clocks are connected to sunrise and sunset, the Earth and the plants and animals around us. We are part of it and taking the time to appreciate and be in it, with it, immerse in it even if it’s just looking out your window take in the night sky or to let the sun hit your face and listen to the birds sing, you are slowing down to give your body and mind a chance to indulge in nature’s way of preparing you for day’s end.
And in doing so, you set yourself up for a blissful, calm, relaxing night sleep. And at the end of the day, that’s worth every little moment spent enjoying the little moments.