There are two things I really enjoy about life.
I wish we could spend more time doing both.
I've also always been very good at both eating and sleeping! They come easily to me. From when I was a baby, when eating and sleeping were pretty much all I did, to college, where I was a circus sideshow to my roommate's friends as I was always able to fall asleep, even when they were partying in our room.
Then I became employed. And the more I worked, the less I slept.
Whether it was long hours on the job or stress and anxiety keeping me from closing my eyes for long, my ability to sleep restfully began to erode.
Then came the house. The nieces and nephews. The parents getting older. The responsibilities. The worries.
Oh yes, then the age of the cell phone. Texts from people who don't own a time zone converter app. Emails at your fingertips. A built in alarm!
Sleeping has become harder for us all. Whether falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, trying to get more sleep, or achieving true restorative sleep conditions, sleeping has become an elusive reward for a day well lived.
And I would be remiss to not point out how important sleeping is to your overall health and productivity.
But you know that. You know that so bad that you want to get more sleep!
So let's talk about sleeping strategies. While I do not guarantee results, as the sleeping topic is a multi-faceted topic, these easy strategies have helped me, my husband, many of my clients, and have solid scientific (and holistic) grounding to at least help you relax and get to sleep.
Get Yourself To Bed!
Quantity of sleep is, frankly, the easier challenge than quality of sleep, because all it requires is you saying 'no'.
OK, I get it, that's hard. So let's ease into it.
Turn your computer off at a reasonable hour. While I'd like to say that 6 p.m. is a reasonable hour, I do understand the global nature of our world. However, although a late call here and there will only impact your quantity of sleep a few nights a week, going back to work emails after dinner will impact your quantity of sleep every night during the week! So, start slowly.
Next week, close your computer down 15 minutes earlier than you did the week before. Add 15 minutes every week for a month. There. You have successfully created a new routine of shutting work down an hour earlier than you did last month.
Maybe this one hour is enough for you. If not, keep going in increments of 15 minutes, until you have created a habit you feel works well for you.
Most importantly! Use this new found time to go to bed earlier. Do not fill that hour up with other unnecessary tasks or TV watching. Go to bed.
Get Yourself To Sleep!
Falling asleep from exhaustion is not the ultimate "fall asleep method." Falling asleep because your body is relaxed and ready to shut down is the perfect "fall asleep method."
Some relaxation ideas for you to try:
- Your local grocery store most likely has an extensive selection of "sleep time" teas that have chamomile, lavender, valerian root and other herbs known for inducing a relaxed state, allowing you to fall to sleep. Try drinking one of these herbal teas before bed.
If you do nothing else...
Start with shutting down 15 minutes earlier tonight and drinking a nice cup of chamomile tea after dinner.