How to Sleep Well | Relaxation Podcasts for Sleep

Inspirational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. I’d like to start today by introducing to you our new sponsor for the month of August. As you probably know, we all spend about a third of our lives in bed. So, it’s important that we do everything possible to make that time more relaxing, healthy, and rejuvenating. That’s why the Inspirational Living podcast has teamed up with Ettitude, makers of fine organic bed sheets and duvet covers.

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Today’s inspirational podcast has been edited and adapted from Peace, Power, and Plenty by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1909.

However troubled you have been during the day, do not go to sleep until you have restored your mental harmony, until your faculties are poised and your mind serene. Scientists tell us that our mental activity when going to bed continues far into the night. These mental impressions just before going to sleep, the thoughts that dominate the mind, continue to exercise influence long after we become unconscious.

We are told, too, that wrinkles and other signs of age are formed as readily during sleep as when awake, indicating that the way the mind is set when falling asleep has a powerful influence on the body. Many people cut off the best years of their lives by the continuation in their sleep of the wearing and tearing influences that have been operating upon them during the day.

Millions of professional men and women are so active during the day, live such strenuous, unnatural lives, that they cannot stop thinking after they retire for the night; and sleep is thus driven away, or only induced after complete mental exhaustion.

These persons are so absorbed in the problems of their business or vocations that they do not know how to relax, to rest; so they lie down to sleep with all their cares, just as a tired camel lies down in the desert with its great burden still on its back.

The result is that, instead of being benefited by refreshing, rejuvenating sleep, they get up in the morning weary, much older than when they retired; when they ought to get up full of vigor, with a great surplus of energy and bounding vitality; strong and ambitious for the day’s work before them. The corroding, exhausting, discord-producing thoughts which are going on when they fall asleep and which continue into the night, counteract the good they would otherwise get from their limited amount of sleep.

All this shows the importance of preparing the mind to exercise a healthful, uplifting influence during sleep. It is more important to prepare the mind for sleep than the body. A mental bath is even more necessary than a physical one. The first thing to do is to get rid of the worrying, nerve-racking influences which have been operating upon you during the day — to clean the mental house — to tear down all the dingy, discouraging, discordant pictures that have disfigured it, and hang up bright, cheerful, encouraging ones for the night.

Never allow yourself, under any circumstances, to retire in a discouraged, despondent, gloomy mood, or in a fit of temper. Never lie down with a frown on your brow; with a perplexed, troubled expression on your face. Smooth out the wrinkles; drive away grudges, jealousies, all the enemies of your peace of mind. Let nothing tempt you to go to sleep with an unkind, critical, jealous thought toward another person.

It is bad enough to feel unkindly toward others when under severe provocation, or when in a hot temper, but you cannot afford to deliberately continue this state of mind after the provocation has stopped and thus spoil your sleep. You cannot afford the wear and tear. It takes too much out of you. Life is too short, time too precious to spend any part of it in unprofitable, health-wrecking, soul-racking thoughts.

Be at peace with all the world at least once in every twenty-four hours. You cannot afford to allow the enemies of your happiness to etch their miserable images deeper and deeper into your character as you sleep. Erase them all. Start every night with a clean slate.

If you have been impulsive, foolish, or unkind during the day (if you have been holding a revengeful, ugly, or jealous attitude toward others), wipe off your mental slate now and start anew. As the old saying goes, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

If you have difficulty in banishing unpleasant or worrying thoughts, force yourself to read some good, inspiring book; something that will take out your wrinkles and put you in a happy mood, and will reveal to you the real grandeur and beauty of life; that will make you feel ashamed of any narrow, uncharitable thoughts.

Saturate your mind with pleasant memories and with dreams of great expectations. Just imagine yourself the man or woman you long to become, filled with happiness, prosperity, and power. Hold tenaciously the ideal of the character you most admire, the personality to which you aspire — the broad, magnanimous, large-hearted, deep-minded, lovable soul you wish to be. By getting in the habit of doing so, this beautiful life-picturing will begin to reproduce itself in your life.

After a little practice, you will be surprised to see how quickly and completely you can change your whole mental attitude, so that you will face life the right way before you fall asleep.

Be master of your mind. Learn to control it, instead of allowing it to control you. Don’t let the thoughts of the day tyrannize you. Hang up in your bedroom, in a conspicuous place where you can always see it, a card bearing in bold letters the motto: “No Thinking Here.”

“Shut off all thinking processes of every kind when you retire for the night, relax every muscle; let there be no tension of mind or body, and in a short time you will find that sleep will come to you as easily and naturally as to a little child, and that it will be as untroubled, as sweet and refreshing, as that of a child.”

It is a great art to be able to shut the gates of the mind on retiring to bed, to control oneself, to put oneself in tune with the Infinite, in sympathy with those about you, and in harmony with the world; to expel from the mind everything which jars or irritates (all malice, envy, and jealousy, the enemies of our peace and happiness) before you go to sleep.

Yet it is an art that we all can acquire. It is possible for everyone to conquer all discordant moods, to overcome every unkind feeling, to banish every frown, every wrinkle from the mind, and to go to sleep with a smile on the face.

When you go to sleep in the right mental attitude, you will be surprised to find how serene and calm, how refreshed and cheerful, you will be when you awake in the morning, and how much easier it will be to start the day right, and to wear a smile for the whole day, than it was when you went to bed worrying, ill- humored, or full of ungenerous, uncharitable thoughts.

A devotional attitude on retiring to sleep is of very great value, inasmuch as it tends to soothe, calm, and reassure the mind; to destroy all fear, worry and anxious thoughts; and to put you in tune with higher, nobler thoughts.

Persistency in preparing the mind for peaceful, healthful, happy sleep will prolong your life and your youth. More important still, it will have a far-reaching influence on your health and the foundation of your character. The habit of clearing the mind of all conflict, error, hatred, revenge (everything which tends toward gloom) before going to bed, and persisting in holding bright pictures in the mind, in dwelling on noble and uplifting thoughts, will in time revolutionize your whole life.

There is an enormous power lying dormant within you, and this latent force or power is very susceptible to stimulus during sleep—when the objective world and its many disturbing conditions are absent. We little realize the amount of activity that goes on in our subconscious minds during sleep.

There is a lot of unconscious philosophy in the old expression, “Let me sleep on it first and I’ll get back to you.” Without knowing the secret of it, we realize that things somehow clear up during sleep in a remarkable way. We see things in a different light in the morning.

The thing we were most enthusiastic over the night before, often seems silly, ill-advised, impossible to us in the morning, not because we really consciously thought much about it, but because there is something in our subconscious mind which often solves knotty problems for us while asleep — problems which staggered us in our waking hours.

Great mathematicians, scientists, and astronomers have many times been surprised to find very difficult problems that their reason could not elucidate during the day solved without apparent effort during sleep.

I know persons who have performed wonders in reforming themselves of bad habits by self-suggestion on retiring at night, holding the happy, inspiring, helpful suggestion in the mind up to the point of falling asleep. People have overcome ugly tempers and nervous dispositions in this way, as well as other unhealthy traits.

The holding of a vigorous, robust, healthy ideal — the ideal and the spirit of youth — has immense possibilities in the way of reinvigoration and rejuvenation, and is especially helpful to those who are advanced in years.

If individuals who are inclined to temporary bouts of the “blues” would (just before going to sleep) insist on the nothingness of these delusions, and substitute for them bright, cheerful, hopeful, optimistic thoughts, they would very soon overcome their melancholy.

If you are lacking money or anything else that you desire from life, you should hold firmly and persistently in mind, before you go to sleep, just the opposite characteristic or quality; as this will tend to attract to you the thing you long for.

If you desire to overcome any vice, plead for wholeness, the completeness which you long to attain. Bad temper, selfishness, and deceitfulness, all sorts of bad tendencies, have been eradicated in this way.

Children seem especially susceptible to suggestion, or what, for a better name, may be called the “going-to-sleep” treatment. This is because the subconscious mind is particularly active in the young and much more easily reached, especially during the first stages of sleep, when just dropping into unconsciousness.

Truths emphasized at this time will be remembered more readily by children, and they are more likely to be acted upon during the waking hours than those which are emphasized while they are awake, for when they are in the subconscious state they feel no antagonism.

If you talk to a child and reason with him or her as they drop off into sleep, just as you would if the child were awake, you will find that your words will have far more effect than if the child were conscious—for the stubbornness, the natural inclination to resist, to do that which is forbidden (which is present in the child’s mind during its waking hours) is quiescent, and they will listen to and heed your advice quietly, naturally, unquestioningly.

The wise parent who makes all sorts of good suggestions to their children at bedtime — substituting the good for the bad, love for hatred and jealousy, unselfishness for selfishness — soon finds a marked change in their dispositions. By injecting into their little life confidence, hope, love, joy, courage, self-reliance, purity — all the higher and nobler attributes — you can wonderfully change a child’s disposition.

And, as I’ve said before, we can use these same techniques on ourselves. Begin tonight and in a very short time you will be surprised at the beneficent results that will follow this persistent practice of flooding the mind with pure and noble thoughts before falling asleep.

You are sure to find joy and satisfaction in the habit not only of clearing the mind of all worry and anxiety, all grudges and jealousies — of everything that clouds the intellect — but also in stoutly and persistently claiming the things which you long for as already yours.

Be sure that when you fall asleep there is only that in your consciousness which will help you to be more of a man — more of a woman. Determine that your mind, when you lose conscious thought, will have in it no black images and no dark spots, but only beautiful images and thoughts of hope and good-will toward every living thing; that there shall be no thoughts of failure, no thoughts of poverty, no unhealthy, discordant thoughts, but that everything shall be bright, cheerful, hopeful, helpful, and optimistic.

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