Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Sleep and keeping it.

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Photo by MAZZALIARMADI.IT
Want to enjoy the bed a little longer?

Great; we all know the importance of a good night's sleep. We've had those days where we're grouchy, frustrated, or just drained from a night of poor rest. Break-downs, break-ups, poor health, and poor judgment can all point a few fingers at a lack of sleep. In my last post, I looked at a few strategies for preparing the bedroom and yourself for a snooze. Here are few things to try as part of your daily life and once you're in there that should help you get enough sleep.
 


Tip #3- Make getting back to sleep more likely.
  • Write it down. Despite our best intentions, restless thoughts can get into our heads. Keep a pen and paper handy. If thoughts creep in, you can write them down for later and move on to more relaxing images. 
  • Progress. Another simple technique is called Progressive Relaxation. The essence of this idea is to tighten one muscle group at a time for a few seconds and then completely relax it. Not only will your body feel like a nice puddle of loveliness, but if you're concentrating on the exercise, it will be difficult to think of other things.
  • Don't dwell on it. It's normal to wake up in the middle of the night, but if you find yourself unable to drift back, one idea suggests that you accept it. Get up and do something relaxing rather than worry about being awake. Keep the lights low, avoid TV or computer screens, and stay away from planning in order to help reconnect with those zzzs.
Photo by iowa_spirit_walker
Tip#4- Adopt habits that promote sleeping well.
  • Keep your sleep. If you take long naps during the day, it will disrupt your sleep cycle and make a full night of sleep unlikely. If you're feeling that you must, aim for a quick power nap of no more than 30 minutes in the early afternoon.
  • Learn to handle stress. When I'm sleepy, I'm more emotional and anxious, and stress is no good for sleep. Seems like a vicious circle, but learning to handle stress can be the first step towards breaking it. There are many resources available online, by phone, or in-person, investigate these is you need to.
  • Schedule it. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day with an emphasis on the waking up schedule.Between coordinating personal and family schedules, and the desire for a weekend night on the town, this can definitely seem like a challenge. Still, many sources say this is a great way to get good quality sleep and once you start, it's not as difficult as it may sound.
  • Make a routine. Make a bedtime routine part of your life. Set a time where the lights go dim, the computer goes off, the worries go away, you light lavender incense, take a bath, stretch, or otherwise dedicate yourself to unwinding. Keeping this routine is my new 30 day challenge and, so far, that time has really helped to put me in the right place for a night of rest. 
  • Be healthy. If your sleep is being interrupted by breathing problems, you are snoring loudly, or you have problems sleeping for more than a few weeks, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor. These discomforts that keep you (or your loved ones) from sleeping may be a sign of something more so check them out.
Photo by pjhunter

While you're still awake, there are some other great resources I suggest checking out:


Kansas State University has a great page about sleeping better as does Helpguide.org. If any reader have some sleep tips, I'd also love to hear them, so leave a comment. Also, if you're interested in some alternate ideas, learn about the theory of segmented sleep.


I'm on twitter now, so that's one more way to share or stay up to date on my latest posts or other interesting items about fitness, nutrition, and general health. If you like what you read, you can also subscribe by email, join the site, or share the post.

Have a good night, Charlotte

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