Oh sleep! Sometimes I love you and sometimes I don’t understand you. Why is it there are some nights that you allow me to fully enter a deep REM sleep and let me wake up feeling completely refreshed…and then why are there nights that no matter what, I keep waking up or worse, can’t fall asleep in the first place? It’s very confusing and irritating…but I guess in the end, it’s not you. It’s me.
Sleep, you really can’t live without it. Did you know that during deep sleep is when our bodies repair themselves. So we literally need sleep not only to feel good everyday, but to keep our bodies going. Example: if you have a cut that isn’t healing properly or say a cold that won’t go away, check your sleeping patterns. Are you getting enough?
Adults need about six to eight hours of sleep. For me personally, I need about seven to eight. I’ve found with getting enough sleep common sense rules. I’m not a night owl, however, I do have a tendency to stay up a little later than I should especially since there is a lot of light flooding into our room in the morning waking me up. So, the best time for me to go to bed is around 10pm and I usually wake up between 6:30 and 7. Now, you may say, that’s more than enough, but for me, I know it usually takes me about 30 minutes to an hour to actually fall asleep once I’m in bed, hence why getting to bed earlier is so important!
Sleep and stress. Here’s a piece of advice: don’t stress out! It never fails. When I’m stressed about, oh, life in general, these are the times when good sleep never seems to come. And then I stress about not getting enough sleep on top of everything else. Managing your stress is key to getting a better night’s sleep. Phyllis Pilgram, who runs Part 2 of our Sleep Well class really emphasizes this and I couldn’t agree with her more. Do not dwell on your to do list or any other stresses right before you go to bed. Let it go! If you can’t, write it down on a piece of paper and tell yourself you’ll deal with it in the morning. Obviously, this is not easy. We all have a tremendous amount of things to do this day in age, but we are not machines. We just have to let things go sometimes in order to truly live our lives. And we have to let them go so we can sleep well and able to live life thoroughly and fully the next day. So try to forget about your problems for six to eight hours during the night.
A couple of other things that have helped me personally with sleeping well…
- Don’t drink anything before going to bed. This is a hard one for me because sometimes I crave a big cup of hot tea before bed just to warm me up. Bad move. I always end up waking up multiple times throughout the night which doesn’t help with getting a good nights sleep at all.
- Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. I’m so so guilty of not doing this. And I know you are too! However, let’s just be real here. Checking facebook, emails, the news, whatever it is you do on your iphone, or ipad, and laptop is not helping you get to sleep. It’s no coincidence that with the introduction of portable electronic devices in the last 10 years that the rise of sleep disorders and use of sleeping pills have grown tremendously. Common sense folks! Anything with a screen that lights up, shut it off. Call it an experiment and see if it helps.
- Yoga has helped my sleep maybe more than anything else. For the last three months I’ve been doing yoga consistently three to four times a week and I have noticed a huge change in my sleep patterns. I can fall asleep faster, get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling really good. Now, it doesn’t have to be yoga, but I think any kind of consistent exercise that really wears you out will help you sleep better. As long as you do it during the day and not right before bed.
- Think good thoughts. Being grateful as you fall asleep also does wonders. I know it sounds so easy, and it is, but how many of us really do it? I’m telling you, thinking of the best things that happened to you that day will help you drift off to a happy dreamland.
This class is offered at The Ranch every week with Phyllis Pilgram. Definitely worth taking if you’re having any sort of sleeping issues and it includes an afternoon nap! Read part 1 here…