Forget Counting Sheep!

February 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Gola having doggie dreams of chasing rabbits

Sleep has been on my mind lately. A lot. Our 3 month old puppy (see above) was having some very early morning anxiety in our bedroom (think 4am!) over the span of  the past 2 weeks. This left my husband and me VERY tired an very grumpy. Fortunately, thanks to my incredible dog trainer, Jenny at Give Paw Dog Training (seriously, if you live in NY and need a dog trainer, Jenny is the best around!) we were able to set Gola up in the living room and got 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep last night. So. Good.

My lack of ZZZZZ’s coupled with my mom’s recent newsletter got me to thinking about how important it is to set yourself up for success when it comes to sleep. Here is a list of some things I do, coupled with tips from my mom (Acupuncturist, holistic health coach and mindset expert):

1. Don’t eat too close to bedtime. This has nothing to do with eating calories at night, but more to do with the fact that when I eat too close to going to sleep, I wake up feeling sluggish with a heavy feeling in my stomach. Plus, I hate the thought that my food is being digested slower when I sleep. Breakfast (Break-fast) is so much more enjoyable when I’m hungry.

2. Try some lavendar oil on your pillow. A received this piece of advice last year and I haven’t missed a day yet of rubbing a drop of pure lavendar oil on the corner of my pillow.  I usually moisterize with a lavendar lotion before bed, too, to get a double dose.  Matt thinks I smell like celery. I beg to differ, however.

3. Dark, Dark, Dark. There is nothing more annoying than having the bright LED display of your alarm clock smack in your face. We sleep better in pitch black. I turn my alarm away so the numbers face away from me.

4. Try a supplement: Ashawagandha is one of my favorite herbs for stress. What’s incredible is that when taken in the morning, it gently wakes you up and eases stress, and when taken at night, it helps you wind down. I sleep so much better when I’ve taken ashawagandha. Some others to try, per my mom: Magnesium, which is a known muscle relaxer. Melatonin helps regulate sleep/awake cycles. And valerian, passionflower, and chamomile tea are time-tested traditional aids for rest.

5. Create a pre-sleep ritual. Whatever you can do to get relaxed, do it. Banning the “buzz” as I like to call it–TV, computers, cell phones–one hour before bed will let your body relax naturally. The glare from computer screens can actually trick your mind and eyes into thinking it’s day time. So shut it off! My pre-bed ritual consists of taking a bath, giving my puppy some love, and then getting into bed to read for about 20-30 minutes. I really look forward each evening for such precious “ME” time, and Matt knows not to disturb me! This would also be a great time for some journaling (or meditation), to reflect on the day, and to jot down concerns for the day to come so you are clear-headed when drifting off to sleep.

Those work for me…what works for you??


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