Have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall into sleep where you shouldn't? And how difficult it is to sleep where you should? How can a church pew possibly be more comfortable than your bed? Why can't your body just do the right thing at the right time? Often, our own mindset is to blame. We allow negative thoughts about sleep to build up. Then when we try to sleep, we start reviewing all the reasons it will never happen.

What's the best way to get around this problem? Many people like you have discovered that meditation can be a big help. There's no need to put on Indian ragas and break out the incense. You don't have to achieve a transcendental state or fold your legs into the lotus position. In fact, this little meditation exercise can be done practically anywhere. There are four steps:

Step One: Get Comfortable

This doesn't necessarily mean to make a dash for the La-z-boy. But you should get into a comfortable seated position. Feet on the floor usually works best, along with palms on your thighs. Keep your shoulder muscles as relaxed as possible. The idea is to stop thinking and get relaxed. Don't fret over the price of oil or the latest news. Just shut it all out for a few minutes.

Step Two: Breathe Deeply

Don't gasp for air through your mouth and don't start hyperventilating. Do try breathing in very slowly and deeply through your nose. Fill your lungs with air, hold it...then slowly breathe out. Did you feel it? While exhaling, you should begin to feel very relaxed and calm.

Step Three: Go (Mentally) To Your Happy Place

This step is often called visualization. That just means to "see" a comfortable and relaxing place in your mind. Let your current reality fade out a little and picture yourself in place you have imagined. The idea here is to help you feel relaxed while you breathe deeply.

Step Four: Relax

It might sound difficult to relax on command. But if you've relaxed your body, started deep breathing and fixed your mind on a place of peace, you should be starting to get pretty relaxed. After a few minutes of this, open your eyes. This should help you feel much better prepared to fall into sleep.

This little exercise in meditation is actually an excellent stress reduction technique. It helps you clear your mind of things that could hinder your ability to fall into sleep. Try performing these four simple steps right before bedtime. This should put you on track for sleeping in the right place at the right time, so you can enjoy being awake the rest of your day.

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