…especially when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable. You can fill in the blank with your own emotions. The mind wants to ruminate and go around and around with thoughts that are not very sleep oriented.
If you have issues with getting enough quality sleep, you’ve probably explored many options to help you. Sometimes it’s hard or not desirable to stop habits that might inhibit sleep. And it may be hard to start new habits that might help. A real issue is that what we try may not help overnight – right away. We have to give our new “sleep” habit some time to be effective.
Here are some thoughts you have shared:
“I lay there and lay there and seldom fall asleep.”
“I can go to sleep, but wake up between 2 and 4 am and can’t get back to sleep.”
“I can’t go to sleep and when I wake up in the middle of the night I can’t go back to sleep.”
“I’m sleeping a lot more than I need to be.”
“I took a nap this week and I never take naps.”
“My body just feels awake.”
Crazy times, right? We are all similar and different at the same time. A sleep habit might work for one person and not another. Develop a confidence in yourself that you will find a way to sleep good enough and long enough. Focusing may be helpful. You can focus on how good your pillow feels under your head, how relaxed your feet feel as you move them across the sheets, how your breath slows down and smooths out, how you practice progressive muscle relaxation.
Did you know that your body creates melatonin (a sleep hormone) when it’s dark? Blue light (from technology) or light in your room can decrease your production of melatonin.
Some good sleep habits include:
- Keep a sleep diary to figure out what exactly your sleep habits are. This may help you identify habits that are interfering with your sleep.
- Talk to a healthcare professional to rule out any sleep disorders or medications that cause insomnia.
- Reduce exposure to light in your bedroom. A darker room will be helpful in your production of melatonin.
- Eat light and healthy if you need to eat at all before bed. It may be harder to sleep if your body needs to digest a big meal.
- Use strategies like meditation, progressive relaxation, legs up the wall to reduce stress.
- Exercise regularly during the day.
- Find your most comfortable position including the temperature of the room, your pillow, and mattress.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime and limit caffeine intake during the day. Both alcohol and caffeine interfere with healthy sleep.
- Set a schedule for the time you go to bed and the time you wake up. Be consistent. Your body will be able to become accustomed to your schedule.
Trying to do all of these at once may cause you to be more overwhelmed! Maybe you’ve already tried several of them. Pick one or two or a few and stick with it to figure out what’s helping and what’s not.
Please share if you have tried something that has helped you sleep better!
Sleep well. Be confident in yourself!
Two palms together,
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