My Top 10 Tips for Sound Sleep
I used to be... just NOT GOOD at sleeping. I would spend a few hours each night tossing and turning, and getting progressively more worked up about how long it was taking, how many hours until my alarm would go off, how tired I would feel the next day.
It's been a long time since I had insomnia, but I still remember so clearly how it ruled my life. I constantly felt awful! I was exhausted all day, but when I would lie down to go to sleep, I couldn't.
Sound sleep is something you can cultivate. Like any other habit, it takes effort, consistency, and time to develop. I use ALL of these on a daily basis—that's what it takes to get me sleeping soundly. It's a long list, but I can't even describe to you how much better I feel! The feeling of being well rested is priceless.
Get an app that filters blue light. I use the Night Shift setting on my iPhone and I have f.lux installed on my computers. In an ideal world I'd say to stop electronics 3 hours before bed, but since I have a business I run in the evening, most of the time I can't! I can't even tell you what a difference this has made for me. Along the same lines, beware of loud TV or music in the evening. An overstimulated nervous system = difficulty winding down and falling asleep.
Get in a few minutes of yoga or stretching before bed. This has real physiological effects: lowering blood pressure and heart rate, and lowering the circulating levels of the stress hormones that have been pumping through all of our bodies all day long.
Get into a consistent routine with bedtime hygiene (wash face, brush teeth, etc.) No matter how tired you are, don't skip it or you could end up lying awake feeling "tired but wired"... that dreaded "too tired to sleep" feeling.
No caffeine past noon.
Beware of alcohol. I've given it up just about completely, and one of the main reasons is that it makes me wake up partway through the night. It interferes with the body's circadian rhythms... basically your body releases hormones to keep you awake (since alcohol is a sedative). Later, when the alcohol wears off, those hormones are still in your system and you wake up, wide awake and alert.
Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day.
Drink chamomile tea in the evening.
I keep my bedroom cool and very dark, and I wear an eye mask and ear plugs when I sleep.
I use magnesium lotion (you can find several brands on Amazon) or take a magnesium supplement every evening. I used to take melatonin, and it worked well without the "hangover" of sleeping pills, but beware: melatonin affects the balance of reproductive hormones!
If you're consistently doing all of the above and you're still having problems, consider adding another soothing ritual like a hot bath, diffusing some lavender oil, doing a little foam rolling before bed, deep breathing, listening to calming music... be creative and keep trying. Sound sleep is worth it!
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