Staring at the Ceiling?
UGH!! You roll over and look at the clock for the third time...it's 3am! Your mind is racing, you're frustrated, and the harder you think about getting to sleep, the more impossible it becomes. There is so much added stress on you right now. The quarantine, finances, homeschooling, isolation, you name it, everything is getting the best of you. And sleep has become more important than ever. However, when you attempt sleep, your anxiety gets out of control. I totally understand! I have certainly spent my share of nights tossing, turning and staring at the ceiling. Along with my online mini-course, Calm Days and Sweet Dreams, here are my top 6 steps to stellar sleep.
1. Reduce Anxiety
UM, "no duh, Dr Sargent"! There are countless techniques to get your anxiety under control. My go-to strategy is to recognize it. You know the feeling: butterflies, nauseated, unable to think straight, mind racing, overwhelmed, whatever name you have for it. Then, I find one thing to be grateful for, it can be a tiny thing, like your favorite sweat pants you've been wearing for three days. Once you latch on to that one thing, think of another, it could be your favorite bra. Keep going until you find five things to be grateful for in your life.
Then, you can use those five things for meditation. Yes! While you are taking long slow deep breaths, think about the things you're grateful for, when your mind wanders, just think of the thought like a wave rolling in and out it goes(no judgement, let it roll) and get back to the five things. It works like a charm to get to sleep.
This is straight forward. Caffeine will increase your anxiety. You can have one or two cups of coffee or caffeinated tea before noon. Then you need to switch to water, decaf herbal teas or coffee, or sparkling water.
If you drink alcohol in the evening past 7 pm your sleep patterns will be messed up. This is also very straight forward. You can enjoy one glass of wine with dinner, then switch back to water as mentioned above. Your body perceives alcohol as a stressor. That is the last thing you need right now!
4. Your Bedroom
You need to make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Do you love your bed? Do you need blackout curtains? Is your thermostat set to 68 degrees or less? You can fix all of these things relatively inexpensively. And it will be worth it for you to get some great sleep.
5. Structured Bedtime
You must pick a bedtime and a time to wake up daily, and stick to it even on the weekends. The sleep you get before 10pm is worth more to your body, than the sleep after midnight. It may take you a week or two to get used to going to bed earlier. You can shift your schedule by 30 minutes to an hour every night until you're getting to bed at a reasonable hour. If you do shift work, those black out curtains are necessary!
6. Eat and Move
You should give your body at least two hours to digest your dinner before heading to bed. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables and protein through the day to keep your blood sugar stable. You can start a gluten free diet, that will help you to cut back on carbs and eat more vegetables. Your body needs specific nutrition in order to rest properly. You can learn more in my online course, Calm Days and Sweet Dreams.
Move your body at least 30 minutes every day. You really need to start counting your steps every day. A good goal to start with is about 3-5000 steps and work your way up to 10,000 on a regular basis. If your body isn't tired, you won't be able to sleep.
These steps may seem fairly simple to you, and any one of them can change your sleep pattern for the better. I am committed to making things better for you and your family during these trying times. I created a new course to help you reduce your anxiety and get a great night's sleep. Check it out here. I also have a new eBook, Endless Energy, that is included with the online course. Please reach out to me anytime. I would loved to know how things are going for you.