“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” - I struggled for years with not being able to fall asleep spending countless hours tossing and turning in bed. I would go to work exhausted before my day had even started and anxiously await to get home again. I know not only how frustrating sleepless nights can be but how it can disrupt your entire life.
I tried countless methods including drugs, meditation, breathing exercises among other sleeping techniques. Most of them were useless but over the years I did find several things that worked for me resulting it great nights of sleep where I wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to go. In this class I will share with you what I call proper sleep hygiene which will help you get the long awaited rest that we all deserve.
Sleep hygiene simply put is controlling your environmental and behavioral factors that may interfere or disrupt your sleep. Several years ago I believed that there was nothing I could do to control or slow down my thoughts when I was trying to fall asleep, but I was wrong. With a little guidance and work you will be sleeping better in not time at all.
Some people may find it funny when I say sleep hygiene, but it’s just as important as when you get up in the morning and plan for a productive day. If you have read this far I’m sure you’re aware of how key sleep is to be productive, lower stress levels and very simply put function. I had a severe sleep disorder and after putting the following sleep techniques into action I was able to conquer deep uninterrupted sleep resulting in a true life change for me personally.
The following sleep techniques are some very simple things you can try. Some may work better for you than others. I began with what has worked best for me first.
Avoid caffeine and other drugs like nicotine. I used to be a coffee and cigarette addict. I’ll be the first to admit that I loved coffee and cigarettes. It was one of the first things my doctor told me to quit in order to sleep better and improve my sleep hygiene. Caffeine, nicotine and all the other drugs in cigarettes not only make it harder to fall asleep but prevent us from entering a deep sleep. Our bodies are addicted to the drugs and we began to have withdrawals within a few hours of falling asleep. Not only is this one of the best tips but it will save you money and improve your health among other countless benefits.
Melatonin is the best all natural sleep aid ever. Melatonin is one of the best tips I have when it comes to getting a good night sleep. I still take 5 mg of melatonin about an hour before I go to bed every night. Not only did I find that I fall asleep faster but I sleep more solid through the entire night. When I tried over the counter products I would tend to wake up groggy or slow in the morning sometimes for several hours. Melatonin doesn’t have this effect on me at all.
Meditation and breathing exercises are great for falling asleep. I don’t always meditate anymore, but when I am really struggling to fall asleep or my mind is racing I break out a few simple tricks. With the lights off in your room get on your bed and do some simple stretches while on your hands and knees. While you stretch slowly breath in and out and pay attention to your breath and focus on it. I don’t care what type of stretching you want to do, this is for meditation so do something that feels good to you. I like to place my head on the bed while on my knees and slowly move back and forth stretching my neck while rubbing the back of it with my hands as this is where I carry a lot of my stress. Do this for five to ten minutes and I promise you will be in a very relaxed state of mind ready for a good nights rest.
Prevent eating before bed. I work until 10:30 at night and a lot of the time I’d get hungry on my drive home and grab something expecting to fall asleep right when I got home. Wrong. Try not to eat anything a few hours before you plan on going to sleep. Remember your body has to process all that food you put in it, making it more difficult to relax and get to bed.
Read a book when laying down for bed. Reading has always been a great tool for me as I tend to not be able to sleep because of racing thoughts. Reading some light content that doesn’t require deep thought such a fictional novel has always helped me slow down my thoughts so I could fall asleep. I highly suggest this for anyone who tends to not be able to relax when they lay down due to a “racing mind”.
Do what I am doing right now, write something! I find writing to be a great sleep aid for me personally. While I write my other thoughts and problems tend to fade as I focus on the topic I am writing about. I also like the feeling I get when I turn off the computer to close my eyes as I feel I have accomplished something at the end of the day, helping leave me with a positive and peaceful feeling.
Essential oils such as lavender can be very relaxing. Simply take a few drops of lavender oil and rub it on your wrists and chest before you go to bed. The smell of lavender is very relaxing and this is something I do every single night yet today. You can pick up some lavender oil at your local grocery store usually near the natural foods aisle.
Following these simple sleeping techniques will greatly improve the rest you get at night. They are all very low cost or free so I highly suggest you try them before rushing off to a doctor as these tips have worked very well for me. I know how sleepless nights can turn your life upside down so please share any tips you may have below. Happy sleeping!