Did you get a good night sleep? Or did you wake up feeling exhausted and fatigued, wondering if you even slept at all? What do you do when you can’t sleep? You already know that getting a good night’s sleep entails a lot more than just climbing into bed and closing your eyes. I know there are some who the minute their head hit’s the pillow off into the land of slumber they go, but for most it seems a more difficult journey between the point of being awake and a sleep.
Understanding your sleep behavior and preparing for a good night sleep can help make sure every night is a good night for sleeping. Falling asleep is far from being a “passive” process where the brain just switches off at night. It is an “active” process involving the whole body and the brain. You have to slowly and surely shut everything off.
Over the past several weeks, I have experienced a few nights where sleep hasn’t come easily. As most days lately have felt as though I’m trying to cram all that I can in a 24 hour time frame, and my brain is in over drive thinking of all the exciting things I am planning for this blog and my online business, sleep is the one area in my life that I have come up a little short on. I lay their thinking of everything I need to do, and visualizing how it’s all going to look, and of course sleep just won’t arrive.
Now at my tender age, the more I appreciate a good restful night’s sleep, so can’t be letting this carry on any longer. Considering my job as a personal development coach, together with my knowledge and skills it’s a pretty silly situation really. I know the answer, and I just have to practice what I preach.
My problem is that I love what I’m doing. It’s got me on a high right now. I’m like a kid locked in at night in the chocolate factory. I lie their visualising, seeing everything coming together, and I just don’t want to turn the movie off. But I have to.
A good night sleep is essential for my health and well being. Sufficient sleep is what allows us to handle our emotions better, helps in our thought process, develops our immune system, and even allows our bodies to recover and prepare for the next day’s task. Sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, irritability and slow reaction time.
How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. Expert opinion varies as to the exact number of hours of sleep we need for optimum health. That being said, studies have shown that those people who get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night diminish their risk of developing health issues.
I’ve got to allow myself to wind down and prepare for sleep and let go off my day, and my visions for the future. I need to empty my mind, prepare myself mentally and physically for sleep.
So if you also spend to many nights lying awake in bed trying desperately to get some shut eye try these ten ways to ease yourself into a peaceful night’s rest and hopefully morning will come a little more easily.
Here is what to do when you can’t sleep. Give each one a try and find the one that works for you.
1. Deliberately Switch Off Your Mind
Allow your mind time to switch off. Don’t work right up to the moment you go to bed. Finish any work you’re doing at least an hour before going to bed. So about an hour before going to bed finish off your day by writing a list of what you have done during the day, and take satisfaction in your achievements. Then make a ‘to do’ list of what you want to achieve tomorrow. Think about any problems you may have that need answers and write them down. Say to yourself ‘I will bring my attention to this tomorrow’, and now close your ‘journal’, and turn your mind totally away from anything to do with work or your problems, and just chill out b y using some of the following methods.
2. Meditation to relax you in both body and mind
This is probably my favourite way to calm my mind. I sit in a quiet, comfortable place, close my eyes and focus on one single thing, generally I use my breathing. I discard all unwanted thoughts from my mind and I allow myself to feel at peace with myself. To fall asleep, you need to be relaxed in both mind and body. Slowly breathe through your nose deeply. Hold your breath for a second or two, then release, counting to four. By focusing on your breath, your mind will let go of the day’s stress and begin to slow down. At the same time, the deep breathing helps to relax your muscles.
3. Deep Breathing for control and relaxation
Take a long deep breath through the nose, hold it for few seconds and then release it slowly through the mouth. Repeat it for 8-10 times and you will feel relaxed almost instantly. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. As you breathe in, focus on pushing out your abdomen so your lower hand moves outwards. Try to make sure your other hand doesn’t move, as your shoulders and chest shouldn’t move up. As you exhale, allow your abdomen to move inwards while keeping your chest and shoulders still. Try to make the inhalation, exhalation and the pause in-between the same length.
4. Lose yourself in the Music
Soothing music can have a relaxing effect on an active mind. Pick something soothing and peaceful. Slow tempo music is preferable as it helps in slowing down the breathing and heart rate. Lie there and let the music simply soothe your mind, and allow yourself to drift on the sound waves.
5. Soak up the Relaxation of a Bath
A nice, hot bubble bath is a simple and easy way to relax and slow down your mind. Sit back and soak in the hot, relaxing water until it starts to cool down. Just allow yourself to enjoy the moment, the calm, the tranquillity, and just keep those thoughts shut off.
6. Become a Book Worm
I love to read in bed. Reading is very relaxing to me. And I’m not talking about reading any blogs, or books about my niche. I read novels. Pure fiction. I curl myself up in a comfy spot and read away.
7. Free up your Muscles with Progressive Muscular Relaxation
Progressive Muscular Relaxation is the combination of deep breathing with the intentional contraction and relaxation of muscles to bring about relaxation. It’s a very simple technique, where you first tense a muscle, tightly contracting it, keeping it under intense tension for a short time. Then you relax your muscle normally, and then consciously relax the muscle even further.
So if you want to be productive, mentally alert, emotionally balanced, and full of energy in the morning make sure you get a good night sleep.
What works for you? Anyone have a specific routine that works well? Share it in the comment section below.