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The magic of Sleep Stories

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 is a wonderful experience.

I came to sleep stories via my decision to develop a daily meditation practice. I didn't feel the need to meditate, but believe it to be inauthentic of me to eulogise about its therapeutic properties without doing so. I'll admit to having trepidations, as all previous attempts had resulted in my 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, with the intention of turning my practice into a habit by trying one of the many Apps on the market. For some reason, I was drawn to Calm, starting with the 'Daily Calm' - a 10-minute guided mindfulness meditation practice. Initially I didn't this practice to aid sleep - for sleep isn't generally a problem for me. Nevertheless, during a period of high daily stress, I felt rested and noticeable more able to handle that stress with growing calm.

But, I'll talk about meditation another time, as this is about the sleep stories. The flare-up of a knee injury caused levels of pain sufficient to prevent sleep. Painkillers weren't cutting it, so I sought distraction from my sleepless state. Being a reader, I naturally turned to books and while they helped fill my wakeful hours, what helped me sleep were the sleep stories on Calm. Starting with the Daily Calm 10 minutes mindfulness meditation, I would turn to their longer sleep stories. The stories are read in such a way 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 listen to a nightly sleep story after my mindfulness meditation practice (if I'm still awake that is).

While I use the Calm app, the Breethe app is very similar. I've not tried any of the other meditation apps, but it's worth checking them out. There are sleep stories available on YouTube, I've just joined a Facebook group which provides them for free, and you can always listen to audio books - available either via your local library or Amazon's Audible - except that you'll need to re-listen to those portions of the book you've missed when falling asleep. You could also ask your significant other to read to you...

Whatever method you choose, do give it a try, for both the quantity and quality of sleep is such an important aspect of our physical and mental health.

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