Want Better, Deeper, More Restful Sleep?
Nearly 9 million adults in the US take prescription sleep aids to fall asleep at night. With high levels of stress, it's no wonder we can't get enough shut-eye and feel like we need help. Before you turn to meds, try out these natural methods to reprogram yourself to settle down and allow for some quality zzz's. It's a multi-step process, be patient and give it a try for at least a week.
- Develop a good sleep routine:
- No tv or screens for 60 minutes before bed, the backlight stimulates the brain and makes sleep challenging.
- No alcohol for 2 hours before bed, and if you do partake, only one glass.
- Do something relaxing before bed: a hot shower/bath, read poetry or something enjoyable (not the news)
- Go on a media diet - limit the amount of news you watch or read. Check in only once a day, and not right before bed.
- Consider journaling or creating a gratitude list each night, so that your blessings are foremost on your mind, not your troubles.
- Make sure your sleeping environment is cool - even if you have to use lots of blankets. Our bodies sleep better when cool.
- Practice mindfulness and deep breathing throughout the day and/or as a practice in the morning. This will condition your nervous system to be more relaxed overall.
- Practice the 4:8 breath(inhale to a count of 4, exhale to a count of 8) at night while in bed getting ready for sleep or do a body scan (do these with lights out, laying in a comfortable position, so hopefully you drift off to sleep during the practice.)
- If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep, practice the 4:8 breath or body scan until you fall asleep. If that doesn't work, under dim lights or candlelight, take a warm shower or bath, then get back into bed and try to sleep.
Happy sleeping! A regular mindfulness practice should help your overall sleep. It helped me sleep better over the years, even during stressful times.