Tag Archives: Sleeping Tips
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Insomnia. It happens to all of us. We have those nights when no matter what we try, we can’t get to sleep. Tossing. Turning. Stressing. Watching the minutes and hours pass, and nothing. Not even a light snooze. Feeling exhausted and not being able to drift off to sleep can be incredibly frustrating. Here’s what to do when you can’t sleep.
First, if you’ve tried to sleep for 20 or 30 minutes and you find that you’re not even close to dozing off, get out of bed. Staying horizontal will only create more stress, knowing that you can’t drift off.
Once you’re up, find something else to do that relaxes you and takes your mind off sleep. That could be different for everyone. You might like to read, meditate, or do some light stretching or yoga. Or, walking around the house might be therapeutic enough to make you tired.
Even though experts advise not to watch television or get in front of a computer around bedtime, if staring at a screen can cause enough relaxation to put you to sleep, then, by all means do, it. Do whatever works for you.
Still no luck? Try to rub your pulse points with lavender oil. The scent is calming and will help reduce the stress you’re feeling since you’re having trouble getting to sleep.
You could be hungry, or have low blood sugar, which might prevent you from sleeping. Try a light snack. A cup of warm milk, a few almonds or turkey (with tryptophan) could induce sleep.
Most of all, think happy thoughts. If you’re worried about what’s going to happen at work the next day, or you’re thinking about a disagreement you had with a friend earlier, chances are, you won’t get to sleep at all. Try to save the serious business for waking hours. Imagine yourself doing your favorite activity in your favorite place, until you unwind. Then, you should get to sleep in no time.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
We all have those nights when we can barely keep our eyes open, but we’re also familiar with those evenings when we can’t seem to get to sleep no matter how many sheep we count. Few people realize that diet can play a significant role in our ability to fall and stay asleep until the alarm buzzer sounds in the a.m. Avoiding caffeine-filled foods, alcohol, and heavy meals too close to bedtime can make dozing off less troublesome.
Above and beyond these things we shouldn’t eat, try eating those foods that help promote a healthy night’s sleep. Read on to see if any of your favorites made the list.
Known for its share of vitamin B6, which is needed for our bodies to produce melatonin, salmon encourages a good night’s rest, as does halibut and tuna.
Did you know that calcium deficiency can keep you from sleeping? Yogurt and milk are rich in calcium, so regularly including dairy products in our diet could make a difference in our sleep habits.
Foods like barley, millet, and bulgur are rich in magnesium, which has been known to keep us fast asleep through the night.
Those cute little beans that we often eat in salads and use to make hummus are jam-packed with tryptophan, a natural sleep inducer. In a nutshell, keep dipping those veggies.
Usually considered a breakfast food, bananas release natural chemicals needed to relax before falling fast asleep. Rather than drinking a cup of warm milk –– the classic bedtime remedy –– try a half banana instead.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
You’re not alone if you have trouble relaxing before bedtime. Many people struggle with turning life off to catch a good night’s sleep. With all of the stressors in today’s world, clearing your head so you can snooze for 7-8 hours each night is easier said than done. You can, however, give these relaxation techniques a try the next time you find yourself wide awake late at night while your body and mind are yearning for sleep.
Give meditation a try.
Become hyper-aware of your body and feelings. Tune into those feelings, paying special attention to where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and where you feel uptight and not at ease. Think back on your day from beginning to end as if your thoughts were a movie or television program. Try and recall as may details as you can while you play back the last 12-18 hours.
Try switching off your toes one by one, and then eventually your limbs, as you move up the body and relax from head to toe. Let your mind wander until you fall asleep.
Try deep breathing exercises.
Breathe in and breathe out at least five times. Imagine all of the day’s thoughts exiting while you exhale, and any tension from the day melting away.
Write down what’s on your mind.
If you have unfinished business from the workday, jot a few notes down on a pad, keeping it beside you on your bedside table. If you wake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, write down any thoughts, so you can fall back asleep.
Try practicing some basic yoga poses and stretches before retiring. Any exercise should be gentle and relaxing, so you remain calm and ready for sleep.
Read a great book.
There’s nothing like an amazing read at any time, but books in bed tend to direct any anxious thoughts toward the story so you can put your worries to bed for the night. Aim to read a chapter if you’re super tired, and two chapters if you get into bed a little earlier than usual. Set a higher goal than what you think you can finish, and you’ll probably drift off to sleep in no time.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Following this month’s theme of sleep studies, I have another bit of research that may help you sleep better. In a study titled, the effect of subliminal priming on sleep duration, which can be found online here, the authors found that subliminal exposure to certain words before going to sleep can improve the quality and duration of our sleep. The Boston Globe goes so far as to call it “subliminal Ambien.” To better understand how this works, we first need to understand a concept in psychology known as “priming.”
A simply way to describe priming is “that for a period of time after a word or other perceptual object is presented, less neural activity is required to process that same word of object.” In other words, repeated exposure to certain words or phrases makes it easier for your brain to associate them with a specific memory. As it relates to this study, priming your brain with sleepy word with the objective of getting to sleep faster is known as “goal-priming.” Okay, so how does it work? And more importantly, how can I prime myself to get to sleep faster?
The author of this study has stated that this type of “goal-priming” can be achieved by placing sticky notes or index cards with slumber-centric words like “calm,” “rest,” and “drift away” throughout your bedroom. So much so that the participants who were exposed to these sleepy words slept 47 percent longer and had lower heart rates than those who were exposed to “neutral” words. The study also found that the effects of subliminal priming are greater among participants who had trouble sleeping, suggesting that exposure to these subconscious cues may be a cost-effective treatment to help people with sleep problems. This may also help explain why bedtime stories are so effective for getting your kids to go to sleep.
However, this sort of goal-priming for better sleep is somewhat controversial, as other studies have been unable to replicate the results. Does it work, or not? We’ll let you be the judge. For me, it’s worth a try.