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  • Writer's pictureLauren L. Murphy

Thin Space No. 38: Getting to Sleep

The Question

What is the quality of your thoughts as you get into bed and fall asleep?


The Intention



The Meditative Moment

Bedtime is the perfect time for all the demons of the day to come out to play. As we settle, our thoughts ramp up, our anxieties might spike, our regrets and guilts surface. When one begins to manage their anxiety with various relaxation techniques, anxiety can ramp up. Our bodies and brains don’t trust relaxation because it makes us vulnerable. We have to push through this wave, to tell ourselves that we are safe and we can rest. Breathwork can be a great practice to help you settle to rest before bed. Once you’re ready for sleep, try some box breathing: inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold the breath out for a count of four. Here’s how I say it in my head: in, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four; out, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four. (If holding the breath causes stress, try a shorter hold, maybe just one or two counts to start with.) I find eight “boxes” to be my magic number: the first few I’m still a little in my thoughts; the middle ones I’m judging my breathing; by the end, I’m ready for sleep. You might have a different magic number. Try it out.

Waves crashing

Originally sent September 7, 2023, to paid Substack subscribers. If you want to receive current Thin Space reflections, you can start a paid subscription here: You can choose to pay $75/year or $8/month.

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