Friday, March 20, 2009

Get Better Sleep Now.

In our hyper-stimulated world, the quest for a good nights sleep has become our holy grail. Humans generally don't function well without sleep. They make mistakes. The mistakes could be as minor as locking yourself out of your car, or as major as having an accident with a plane full of passengers. We need good sleep, but how do we accomplish this? If you are the parent of a newborn, as I am, it may be impossible to get a good nights sleep. I have often had a hard time sleeping, and usually these would help me out some.
  • Don't watch disturbing or stressful programs late at night. It has always surprised me that shows like ER and Law and Order are on later in the evening when you should be preparing yourself for bed. It probably has something to do with children's bedtimes. Watching shows where there is a crisis situation causes the adrenaline to course through your body, making it harder to calm down.
  • Make a list of the things you need to accomplish for the next day, then put it away and don't think about it. I know this may be hard to do, but it can help.
  • Make your bedroom an argument free zone, then use that time to practice relaxation exercises. Just doing relaxation exercises before bed can induce a better quality of sleep. One that I find helpful is to slow my breath down, counting down from 50, paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly, breathing deep.
  • Don't drink before bed. You can probably have a drink and it won't affect your sleep much, in fact recent studies suggest that a glass of wine could be good for your melatonin levels. Drinking so much that you induce sleep is bad, because it doesn't allow you to go through all of the stages of sleep, which are all beneficial.
  • Physically exhaust yourself. If you are active throughout the day you will be more likely to fall into a deep sleep. Don't do anything too close to bedtime as this might keep you up.
  • Early to bed, Early to rise. It really helps if you can set up a regimented sleep schedule. Setting your internal clock to sleep at a specific time will help you fall asleep. Try to even keep some semblance of your schedule on the weekends too. The more you habituate your sleep times, the easier it will be to fall asleep.
  • Don't Worry. Bedtime is not the time to think about deadlines, or anything else that stresses you out. Once you get your adrenaline going it will be tougher to calm down.
  • Listen to Relaxing music. Relaxing music before bed can lead to an easier time falling asleep.
  • Trade massages with your partner. The right type of touch can ease you into a relaxed state which is more conducive for sleep.
This wasn't meant to be a complete list of methods to find that goal of a good night's rest. If you have any more ideas related to this leave them in the comments section. For more ideas read here.


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Heavy Metal Yogi by Nick Matthaes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.