BLOG_2020_07_23 Top 10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep So You Can Feel Reborn

Top 10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
So You Can Feel Reborn!

23 JULY 2020

Seldom does time pass more slowly than when insomnia hits or a new “baby” enters the home and disrupts your normal routine. The next day at your computer can go just as slowly—and just as poorly—in your sleep-deprived state!

The following are suggestions I’m implementing that might also help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

1. Structure your sleep. Try to go to bed and arise at the same time every day. Set reminders and alarms to help you keep to the schedule.  Keep in mind, science has shown that an hour of sleep we get before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight. So don’t be that person who brags about how little sleep you need.  Most of us need a range of 7 – 9 hours each night. In fact, the journal Science indicated the quality of our sleep is more influential on our happiness levels than our income or marital status!

2. Create a soothing bedtime routine. Watching the news or reading your e-mail are not good sleep inducers.  I can argue watching the news at any time of day is bad for you but especially damaging before you go to bed.  Using our computer devices with blue light screens also cause our mind to stay awake.  So if you must watch tv, read on your e-reader or work on your computer before going to sleep use the “night” mode to reduce the brightness of the screen.  And turn them all off before 9pm!

3. Create a suitable environment. If you are like me, I sleep better when my bedroom is quiet, dark and cool.  I will often stick a leg out to use as a thermostat to regulate my body temperature; not too hot, not too cold, but just right! I also find it more relaxing when I get into a bed every night with fresh clean sheets rather than rumpled ones. So this means I make my bed every morning, 

4. Exercise during the day. While it is important to exercise each day, try to do it in the morning.  This is for two reasons: 1) exercising in the morning can help to increase your metabolism throughout the day when you are needing it most, and 2) exercising too close to bedtime raises your body's energy or vibration levels causing extra stimulus. As you get closer and closer to your bed-time, you want to drastically reduce stimulus, including alcohol.

5. Avoid caffeine within at least three to six hours of bedtime. Nicotine, sugary snacks, and alcohol can also cause wakefulness.  It seems each year I have to quit drinking caffeine earlier and earlier in the day.  It used to be I could drink it all day long, then I had to stop by 3pm.  Now I can only have one cup of my favorite beverage before noon.  If I don’t follow that rule, I wake up at 2 – 3am wide-awake and not being able to get back to sleep. I don’t have trouble falling asleep with caffeine – just staying asleep. What about you?

6. Try deep breathing. Inhale for seven slow counts through your nose, hold for four, then exhale through your mouth for eight.  Make sure you are belly breathing too to let your brain know you are calm and not in the “fight or flight” mode that breathing through your chest indicates to your brain.  Stay focused on your breath and when you find your mind wandering, return to the breath.  This will also help you stay in the present so you don’t think about your worries!

7. Release worries. If you can’t get to sleep or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because you are worried about something try writing your concerns down, along with possible solutions. But don’t take too much time doing it – just right down the main points, not the fine details.  Keep the note pad next to your bed so you don't have to get up. Often when we do a “brain dump” it can help us relax, knowing we won’t forget what it was we were thinking about.  It’s also helpful to recognize there is nothing you can do about it at the present moment.  In the present moment, you are safe and okay. 

8. Organize what you need for the next day. Before going to bed, plan the next day and write down what you need to focus on.  Make three lists: 1) the priority list, 2) the errand list, and 3) the “I won’t do list” (get sucked into social media, watching the news, etc.) This will help ensure you have a productive day.  Being well prepared for tomorrow will also likely help you sleep better.

9. Don’t work, eat or watch TV in bed. Keep your sleeping place for sleep and other pleasures.  Enough said.

10. Hide your clock. Figuring out how much sleep you’re missing intensifies the stress and makes it harder to go back to sleep.  I’m sure you have done this– watched the clock each time you roll over in frustration because you are still awake? Or you calculate how many hours you have left before you must get up? Resist that temptation to look at your clock or watch – it just adds to the stress.

Can you fall asleep before 10 pm for the next three nights to get that quality sleep?
It may be harder than you think! 

Start winding down and getting ready for bed at around 8:30pm and slip into bed by 9pm. 

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