Four Tips for a Better Nights Sleep
Last year the magazine stands were full with Time Magazines special edition titled “Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness.” As a therapist I was pumped to find something actually beneficial and crucial to our existence so readily available amongst all the smut (don’t worry…I love my occasional gossip in the tabloids). The magazine is loaded with benefits to mindfulness. So in an effort to write a well informed article, here are 4 steps I stumbled upon, plus useful information I’ve pulled from my own work about helping you catch some zzz’s.
#1 Don’t Fight Your Sleepiness During the Day
If you’re like me you will be doing great all day until about 3 pm hits. If you begin to feel sleepy during the day, notice it. Tune into your sleepiness rather than fight it off with 5 hour energy drinks. Avoid the risk of making a negative association with your sleepiness. Instead, listen to it. Maybe take it easy, slow down, take a power nap, or just simply acknowledge and appreciate this sleepy part of you that’s coming with information.
#2 Have More Fun
Rubin Naiman, a clinical psychologist specializing in integrative sleep and dream medicine tells us that “there’s a strong relationship between the depth of our sleep at night and the heights of our passion during the day.” Basically, the more fulfilled you feel during the day, the more energy you burn, the more awake you are, the more you’ve met your goals, the better you will be at winding down into a slumber at night. A lot of people aren’t sleeping well at night because they are simply completely sedentary during the day.
#3 Create a Bedtime Ritual
I have 4 kids. You can imagine bedtime at my house. No matter how tired we all may be, the bedtime routine has to happen in order for my kids to stay in bed and fall asleep. Our routine looks like this: Pajamas, brush teeth, go potty, get a drink, say prayers, read a story, and sing a song. Every. Single. Night. It’s a chore, but there’s something to be said for bedtime routines. A good routine will help your brain and body prepare for sleep. For adults I recommend a warm bath/shower, essential oils, light stretching or yoga, herbal tea, journaling the days events, and of course shutting down the screens. Try doing this all before 10 pm. If you’re having trouble getting to bed on time, trying moving bedtime up in 15 minute increments. Remember sleep is an experience. Prepare for it.
#4 Get Connected
Connection is vitally important to our emotional well being. I like to describe connection as a mindful, present experience. People find healthy connection in many different ways. It can look like actual connection with another individual, connecting to your physical/emotional state, connecting with a higher power, or my personal favorite, connecting with nature. Nature is one of my go-to’s because I find something so spiritually healing when I’m in nature. So, have a meaningful conversation, exercise, journal, pray, put your feet in the water, however you choose. Mindful, present experiences reduce our risk of anxiety, depression, and can help you sleep better at night.