What should you do if you want sleep now and you cannot get it?
First you need to figure out why you cannot get sleep. If it’s because your child is not sleeping, contact me for a free 15 minute phone call to talk about your child’s sleep disruptions. I will give you some tips to try and let you know if you will benefit by working with me. I conduct in person consultations in the Northern Virginia / Washington DC Metro Area and phone or Skype consultations anywhere else.
If you do not have a child, or your child does sleep, then you need to focus on why you are not sleeping. Here are some simple steps you can start immediately to help your sleep (assuming your problem is more of a behavioral problem and not a medical issue – you should always check with your doctor if you cannot sleep and do not immediately see a cause).
Limit electronic use an hour or two before bedtime. When you go to sleep, your body produces melatonin, which is a calming hormone. Light inhibits the production of this hormone, and the light from electronics such as tablets, smartphones and laptops is particularly bad. Kill the lights to keep melatonin flowing article.
Dim your lights. Dimming the lights an hour or two before bed can also help your body produce melatonin.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Just like children, adults do well with having a relaxing routine before bed. Do whatever calms you. Some ideas are to take a warm bath, read a book, meditate or do some yoga.
Check your environment. Your sleeping environment should be spa-like. Dark, cool, quiet and relaxing are what you are going for if you are creating a sleeping environment. Your sleep is less restorative if your room is too warm.
Quiet your mind. I know for me, my biggest problem falling asleep is that my mind will not quit. (Many of my blog posts are “written” in my head before I fall asleep!). I have had success with putting some paper and a pen next to my bed to write down ideas. Once they are down on paper, I can let go. Another way to quiet your mind is to use white noise. Your brain focuses on the white noise and if it is doing that, it cannot worry!
Watch your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Pay attention to foods you eat before bed also – chocolate contains caffeine and can cause you to have more trouble falling asleep. While having a few alcoholic drinks seems like a great way to fall asleep, your sleep will be less restorative.
If you do wake during the night, try not to watch the clock or think about how much longer it is until you have to wake for the day. This will only stress you out more and keep you awake.
Keep a consistent schedule. If you are having trouble sleeping, try to keep your sleep and eating schedules pretty consistent. So even on the weekends, try to not vary your schedules by more than an hour.
Good luck and try to relax! Feel free to comment below with any great sleep tips you have!
By Michelle Winters