For most of us, having a story read aloud to us is something last experienced in childhood. It’s a wonderfully bonding experience between parent and child, helping a child wind down from the day and prepare for sleep. Later, once the child becomes able to read independently, this practice tends to cease. It’s all part of the growing up process.
But it doesn’t need to stop. Having a story read to you at bedtime – hell, at any time – is a wonderful experience. Did any of you watch Dawson’s Creek? Yes, yes – it’s my secret shame 😀 For those who did, I just knew it was the real thing when Pacey spent time every day reading aloud to Joey.
I came to sleep stories via my decision to develop a daily meditation practice. I didn’t feel the need to meditate, but believed it to be inauthentic of me to eulogise about its therapeutic properties as a life coach, without doing it myself. I’ll admit to having trepidations, as all previous attempts had resulted in my suffering from constant itches, getting the fidgets, and being distracted by my busy thoughts. Even when a friend “led” me in meditating, I’d struggled to keep thoughts at bay, but the benefits of those who practice it regularly are so keenly felt, I knew it was time to take it seriously.
I decided to forego reading in bed in order to meditate, as that seemed like a time of limited external distraction. With the intention of turning my practice into a habit, I tried one of the many apps on the market and quickly developed a 7-10 minute daily, guided meditation practice. I’ve been doing it for 3 years now, and although I didn’t start the practice to aid sleep – for sleep isn’t generally a problem for me – the app was where I found sleep stories.
Prior to knee surgery, I was in sufficient levels of pain to prevent sleep, and painkillers simply weren’t cutting it – so I sought distraction from my sleepless state, and naturally turned to books. While they helped to fill my wakeful hours, what helped me to sleep were the sleep stories.
The stories are read in such a way as to ease you into sleepiness. Sometimes it would take multiple stories, but to my delight, I was able to get some periods of sleep as a result. Even though I no longer need the sleep stories, I still listen to a sleep story every night after my mindfulness meditation practice (if I’m still awake that is).
They have become such a key part of my night-time routine, that on the brief occasions when I have no access to wi-fi, I now listen to Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegon tales, which are the perfect back-up plan.
What do you think of the idea of an adult having stories read to them aloud? Do you have trouble sleeping – if so, what methods do you use to alleviate it?