Every year, more and more studies are presented, showing that a good night’s rest contributes to weight loss, clearer skin, higher test scores in students and so many other things. And yet, more and more I see commercials and ads for sleep aids, because people cannot achieve natural, healthy sleep. Why is this? I attribute it to infomercials-they’re so darn appealing at 3 a.m.! Of course I need something that slices and dices my avocados! Anyway, back on track; the advances in technology – whether it be laptops to catch up on websites, tv in the bedroom to watch late night talk shows, or even trying to get an early start the next day at work with your Blackberry – being “on” constantly takes a toll on your mind. It won’t turn off just because you turn off the lights.
So here are some tips that have helped me throughout my journeys through sleepless nights.
- exercise. You don’t have to do a full Buns of Steel video or even go to a gym. Any sort of movement that makes you out of breath is great – crank some tunes and shake your thang in the living room for 30 minutes. But, make sure you give your body several hours to simmer down and get into a relaxed mode before trying to go to bed. Dance around and have a ball at least 3 hours before you hit your pillow, otherwise your endorphins will still want you to run a marathon.
- lights off! including the glowing box! Yes I mean the tv! First off, having any sort of lights on really effs up your body’s natural rhythms – it still thinks it’s twilight, or worse – DAWN! So, off with the lights. Second, the tv, if you do have one in your room, should not lull you to sleep. I will admit, I am guilty of this from time to time, but every time I do keep it on, I ALWAYS end up waking up in the middle of the night and have extreme trouble getting back to sleep. It cannot be helped. “But,” you may say, “the tv keeps my mind from racing through all the things I have to do!” well, ma chere, read on!
- keep a journal or paper near your bed. It might sound silly, yes, but if you actually do this, the results are incredibly encouraging. Before you go to sleep and turn out the lights, write down everything that is on your mind. It doesn’t have to be a “to-do” list, or even a list you have to look at ever again; it’s just a visualization of your thoughts. everything you’re thinking about gets purged onto this page. Keep it right there so that if you have another thought as you’re drifting into sleep, you can scribble it down quickly. It helps tell your brain “you don’t have to keep working on remembering this stuff; it’s all on the paper dude!” so it can focus on getting you to sleep. Seems simple enough, right? Then you have the choice of rereading the paper the next morning, or tossing it away-ahhh, no worries!
- no computer! If you find you do actually wake up in the middle of the night, try this tip: practice solitaire in your mind. It is repetitive and was designed to be sleep-inducing. Keep going over it in your mind and you will be countin’ z’s in no time!
All these tips should help you on your way to Snoozesville!
What tips would you like to add that have worked for you?