Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? Once you finally do get to sleep, does the smallest little noise wake you right back up? Like me, do you seem to finally be drifting off and in a really deep sleep about the time your alarm clock goes off in the morning? Are you looking for a few new things to try to help you sleep better and wake up more rested?
I have been sleep challenged for most of my life, and definitely endured days of sleep-deprivation. As a child, it was a fear of dark and scary things that were coming out of my closet. As an adult, it’s been taking care of the dog, children’s needs, and too much on my plate to get done to have time to slow down or sleep! There’s also been physical pain, emotional traumas, and medications that have inhibited my ability to get a good night’s rest. But, with all this said, rest and sleep is a very important part of staying healthy. And as I’m learning now to take more time for me, I’m discovering how valuable getting a good night’s sleep is for my sanity!
I don’t think this is a women-only problem… but it sure seems like the men I’ve known have an easier time unplugging their brains and falling asleep quickly. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to enjoying my own sweet dreams and a satisfying night of rest and rejuvenation.
1. Daily Exercise. For me to sleep (and sleep well) I require daily exercise. The less I move, the more sluggish I feel – which means I don’t want to move, but the more I lay awake all night. Sounds crazy – but I recommend increasing your daily physical activities. Either more vigorous exercise, more time exercising, or both! Play with your activity schedule until you figure out what your body needs for balance between physical work/exercise, and rest/sleep.
2. Sunshine. The more sunshine I get, the more soundly I sleep. (being outside in the sun, breathing fresh air – not just looking out the window.) No sun – no sleep… Discovered this recently while vacationing in Jamaica. Even my sweetie commented on how well I was sleeping. I don’t live in the tropics…but sunlight seems to make a big difference in my disposition and ability to unwind, relax, and fall asleep quickly.
3. Nourishment.What I eat & how late I eat it – affects my ability to sleep. Anything with caffeine past @ 11am and I have a difficult time going to sleep before 2-3am. Chocolate past 2pm – same thing. High sugar, or late night snacks…no sleep. Food is energy, energy keeps us awake. It’s a challenge for me to get dinner between 6-7pm but if I do, I’m generally tired by 10-11 and IF I listen to my body and go to bed, I’ll fall asleep quickly. IF I blow through my “tired” moment and force myself to stay up (or eat a snack) I might not sleep at all. What foods are you eating & what time to you consume them? Can you see a connection? Is this affecting your sleep cycle?
4. Sleeping In & Naps. I hardly ever take naps…because a nap during the day usually means less sleep at night. But lately – on the weekend IF I’m tired, I’m sleeping in, or napping a bit. Definition of a nap – 10-20 minutes of “power-rest” just enough to give me a moment of peace in the middle of a hectic day.
5. Meditation. If I really can’t sleep – I find that laying restfully and listening to a guided meditation is a fabulous way to stay refreshed with minimal actual sleep. I had almost a year on high-dose steroids, which put my body in overdrive. Most nights IF I could lay still for 30 minutes to an hour it was cause for celebration. Meditation helps me keep my sanity when I have times where for whatever reason I am getting very little actual sleep. You might use soothing music, or download several different guided mediation to your phone, ipod, or mp3 player to have handy when needed.
6. Guardian Angels. While attending a Spiritual workshop recently, during the opening prayer Guardian Angels were placed in all 4 corners of the room for protection. This past week, I have been saying a prayer before bed and calling my4 Angel protectors to the corners of my room and asking them to protect the space in all directions – N, S, E, W, Above, & Below – while visualizing a glowing orb of protection around my bedroom. I have slept like a rock every night that I’ve done this! I’m striving to remember to thank my Angels every morning when I wake up:) This has been amazing. I also visualize my “Day Angel” passing me off to my “Night Angel” with me sleeping like a baby:)
Heart healing continues to come up for me on my Spiritual journey to be healthy, happy, and whole. We need a healthy body for a healthy heart, we need proper nourishment for a healthy heart, and we need to heal our emotional baggage for a healthy heart. A healthy heart = a happy heart!
I recently read the book, The Healing Codes by Alexander Loyd, PhD, ND. Wonderful insights for heart healing & the emotional connection to how we react to things. One of the comments Dr. Loyd makes is positive affirmations can actually increase our stress level & create problems if we don’t really believe what we’re saying! This book also helped me connect some of the triggers to things/events in my past when I fall off my emotional deep end, how these past events are related to my reactions to things now… And how to clear these negative emotions for a healthy heart. I know I have spent many a sleepless night with things weighing heavy on my heart. As I have made shifts and improvements in this area – my ability to wind down, let go, and sleep has definitely improved. I definitely think this is a must-read book if you’re interested in looking at the possible heart connection to your sleepless night issues.
We are all on our own personal journeys. But we’re also all human…different, but the same. What works for one person may not be exactly what YOU need right now, but tuck it away for future reference. I find that my body cycles thru things I need to eat, amount of sleep, different types of exercise, different meditations,….The more in-tune we are with all of this the easier it is to follow our heart and stay connected – mind, body, and spirit!
Take care of YOU – exercise, good foods, good thoughts, peace, joy, laughter… Maintaining a healthy & whole you will help you enjoy a restful whole night’s sleep – tonight & every night!
Hope these tips for a better night’s sleep are useful to YOU! What other suggestions do you have? Please share…