Sleep is so in. Gone are the days of bragging rights about how little sleep we got and how much we got done in a day. Those of us who used to take pride in skating by on a few hours of sleep discovered that everything about this strategy ends up costing us our healthy, our happiness, our productivity, and our sanity.
I think you know the basics of getting a good nights sleep. But in case you don’t, and before I get into some really cool other techniques, I’ll list the basics for you here. To learn more watch the video on letting sleep happen and see my description.
Sleep basics, 101 course level.
- Sleep in a well-ventilated, cool room. Stuffiness and excess heat do not help you sleep.
- Avoid excess alcohol in the evening. (Once the alcohol sugar burns off, you will get a burst of wakefulness.)
- Skip the caffeine especially starting in the early afternoon, depending on how sensitive you are.
- Avoid bright lights and monitors. Turn the brightness on your monitor down if you like to read your tablet before turning out the lights.
- Avoid a huge meal before you sleep. It’s tough on your body to try to rest and digest food at the same time. (Sleep is a time to restore your body, not ask your body to work!)
- Maintain a dark room and use a sleep mask if necessary.
- Of course, manage the noise to the best of your ability. You may need to wear noise-cancelling headphones.
- Have a regular bed time. This helps your body get used to a rhythm. It’s like putting a baby to bed and that baby is you.
- You may use Valerian root tea, and or Melatonin. Both are non-habit forming, non-toxic, and soothing.
Now, the advanced course.
Let’s face it. Wakeful hours can happen to the very best of us. My husband is a great sleeper. Nothing disturbs him… usually. Except even he, on occasion, finds himself alert and awake around 2:30 AM. If you can relate to this, consider the following tips. I also describe them in the video on surrendering to sleep below.
- DO NOT FIGHT IT! The worst thing you can do is work so hard on trying to go back to sleep that you stress yourself out and make it harder to doze off.
- Don’t look at the clock. Does it matter if it is 1:45, or 2:20, or 3:30, or 4:45? Don’t look at the clock and let go of tallying how long you are awake. Doesn’t that make you more tired even thinking that way?
- REST. BREATHE. RELAX. Let your body rest. The most amazing thing about this is that when you REST, you can still wake up refreshed in the morning. (Yes, you WILL fall back asleep!) I call this one USE THE TIME. Since wakefulness simply happens, just go with it. Anything you know to do to let the tension out of your body and your mind, and to allow a relaxing breath enables you to calm and soothe yourself as you gently let sleep overcome you.
- Quit telling yourself that you can’t sleep. Again, practice quieting your mind. Practice these techniques and you will get better at surrendering to sleep.
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