Sleep is a pretty big topic.
Without enough quality sleep our bodies just don’t recover, we risk injury, heart disease, decreased mental acuity, lack of enthusiasm, have cravings for quick acting carbs, our patience is tested to the max, the quality of our workouts suffer and so much more.
So what can you do if you have trouble falling asleep?
What do you do when you hit the sack and you just lay there wishing you could fall asleep, frustrated that you are in bed and “ready to do this!,” yet your body won’t cooperate?
Here are some things you can try:
1. Have a regular bed and wake time. Wake and go to bed at nearly the same time every day. If you are really troubled, make sure you do this on the weekends, too. Yeah, I know that is a challenge, but life is a challenge when you don’t get enough sleep.
2. Keep your room temperature cool. The National Sleep Foundation recommends your room temperature be between 60-67 degrees. Maybe you need a mattress cooling pad. One recommended by author and radio host of The Healthy Rebellion , Robb Wolf, is ChiliPAD.
3. Get off ALL devices 1-2 hours prior to bed. Our bodies are highly sensitive to light (we even have receptors in our ears!), some people are more sensitive than others. Unfortunately, your husband might easily fall asleep after having watched a movie until midnight, but the light from the TV keeps you awake.
4. Have your last meal of the day at least two hours prior to going to bed. Don’t eat anything else. You might experiment with meals that have more protein and less fat or more starch and less protein or fruit and protein. It might take some time, but if you log food and sleep, you are likely to see some patterns.
5. Essential Oil spray – Some people have very good luck with a diffusor or spritz of lavender, vanilla, rose, geranium and jasmine.
6. Brain Dump – Many women have trouble falling asleep because their mind is racing. One of my coaches tells me “The brain is meant for creating ideas, not storing them.” Get a piece of paper and set a timer and WRITE everything, and I mean everything. If it pops in your head, you write it down. This is not a list of things to do. This is getting all of your thoughts out of your head for 2-5 minutes or longer if you have. No judgement, no order. I remember writing “I don’t have any thoughts.”
7. Journal – gratitude – Back to gratitude. It always comes back to gratitude to change your state. Especially with our current situation, our minds might be spinning, we can still have gratitude. Either write or recite.
8. Say a mantra – Anything that is repeated. My pastor once mentioned “My soul glorifies the Lord” and I use that sometimes. Find words that you like.
9. Breathing – Focus on the count. Inhale for 7, exhale for 10. Where is your breath coming from? You midsection or your neck. Inhale down low and into your back.
10. Muscle tensing – Start at your toes and work your way up to your head. Tighten the muscles and then relax them…work your way to every area of the body.
11. Make sure your room is completely dark. Cover every light on your clocks, TV, devices. I use black electrical tape to cover a tiny blinking light on a fire detector and have room darkening shades.
12. Use visualization – Imagine an image like a tree or a bird. Think of all the details or lack of details. Is it crispy clear or blurry, far away or near, colors, shapes, what is in the background. Anything at all you – what do you see?
13. Avoid alcohol and caffeine – No caffeine after Noon, if you are very sensitive don’t have any at all and that includes chocolate. Skip the alcohol..period. Sugar might be bothersome to you as well, steer clear.
14. Write down your goals and your schedule for the next day. It’s helpful not to have to worry that you’ll forget something important. Planning the day frees your mind.
15. Remember that you require and deserve to sleep. Sleep is for everyone. You are not weak if you desire sleep. You are human. Even King David rested well. I say to myself “this is the time for sleep” or “I am meant to sleep at this time and do nothing else.” These phrases remind me to rest my brain.
I hope these tips help you!