If you are like so many busy Americans today, you may have problems falling asleep, or staying asleep. The following tips are helpful if this is a regular pattern for you. Often the culprit is increased muscle tension and a racing mind due to worry, anxiety and a general sense that there is not enough time to accomplish what one needs to in a 24 hour time frame.
Our natural melatonin levels ( sleep hormone) start producing around 8-9 p.m. in the evening and peaks between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. It’s important to respect this phenomenon and to TURN OFF all your devices (i.e TV, computer, ipad, phones, tablets etc.) as the blue light from them interferes with the production of melatonin. Try weaning yourself from your devices a minimum of 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep.
Tips for sleeping:
Establish a regular routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and awaken at the same time each day. Begin to unwind 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
- take a warm bath or shower
- listen to some relaxing music
- do some gentle yoga poses or tai chi
- Take 10 deep breaths
- keep a favorite novel or light reading on your bed stand
- listen to a soothing podcast or another podcast
- Try a phone app for achieving a sense of CALM
- crochet, knit, doodle, paint, play with clay or draw
- Have a light snack if you are hungry such as a banana, some warm milk, herbal tea with 1/2 turkey sandwich, some oatmeal, or a handful of nuts and a small non-sugar yogurt
If you don’t fall asleep in 20 minutes and find your anxiety level rising because you are NOT sleeping, get up, get out of bed, go to another room and try one of the above tips that you haven’t tried before or that has worked for you in the past. The same strategy applies if you awaken in the middle of the night and find yourself staring at the clock
For more information check out The website for the National Sleep Foundtaion http://sleepfoundation.org