You’ve just pulled an 18-hour day so you should easily sink into blissful dreamland. The problem is the adrenaline rush from everything you’ve just accomplished is still flowing and thoughts of all you have to do tomorrow are starting to trickle into your head. So instead of snoozing, you find yourself wide awake, unable to sleep.
You already know to kick caffeine at least 4 hours before bed and to pull yourself away from all screen media at least 15 minutes before your head hits the pillow. You’ve even tried counting sheep and grandma’s mug of warm milk trick. But still, Mr. Sandman doesn’t seem to come. No worries, we’ll help you rest easy with these sleep tips and tricks!
First, it’s important to establish a bit of a bedtime routine and set some sleep boundaries. Remember those bedtime stories when you were a kid? Read a few pages of a book, jot down your thoughts in a journal, take time to stretch, or rinse your face with some warm water. Here’s a sample morning and evening wind-down routine.
If sleep doesn’t come right away, relax. Remind yourself that sleep will eventually happen. We all have different sleep cycles and schedules so feeling bad about not being a “perfect” sleeper only leads to a vicious cycle of anxiety. In fact, the Mayo Clinic even recommends getting out of bed and doing something else if sleep doesn’t come within 20 minutes!
Use pre-sleep time for meditation. Author Martha Beck recommends the following little exercise for accepting upcoming changes in your life, but I find it helps take your mind off any type of stress or worry you may be feeling:
As you inhale deeply through your nose, puffing your stomach out, say to yourself, “Let it happen…” As you exhale fully through your mouth, pushing your tummy toward your spine, say to yourself, “Let it go…” Or, think of any other combination of phrases that are meaningful to you as you inhale and exhale, such as, Inhale: “Life is good…” Exhale: “I’ve done my best…” This YouTube Video walks you through easy, relaxing breathing.
Finally, here are strategies for making your bedroom a more peace-full environment:
- You may want to consider having your pets sleep in another room to avoid them waking you up every time they get up.
- Lavender is a naturally calming scent. Invest in some lavender pillow spray or room scent.
- Choose a comfortable pillow specifically designed for side sleepers, back sleepers, or tummy sleepers.
- Your body’s sleep patterns are tied closely with light. Invest in some room darkening shades, a sleep mask, or drape a blanket over the window.
- To block out noise, download white noise and relaxing nature sounds or search your smart phone for sleep aid apps.
- Create your own sleepy time music mix on your iPod.
Now, with the room dark, pleasant sounds, and mind calming meditations, you should be well on your way to dreamland. Good night! Sleep tight!