However, it got me thinking about my experiences with sleep and the struggles I used to have (and still occasionally do have) regarding my sleep routine and how sometimes I just can't ever seem to "go the F to sleep". Anyone else relate? Most of the time I have some annoying song stuck in my head and one line just repeats itself over and over again... Cue "Mambo #5" (WORST SONG EVER!) lol... I thought I would let you all in on some secrets that I've used over the years to help me when I just can't seem to get to sleep and some strategies that I suggest to my clients during sessions who struggle with sleeping.
#1 - My personal favorite: The Sound Machine! I have found that white noise is extremely soothing and can be great for clients who's minds are constantly racing. Whether it's processing the day or worrying about the laundry list of things you need to accomplish the next day, having a sound machine next to your bed can be a great distraction to fill in those spaces where your mind wants to wander. I recommend choosing a white noise machine that has a timer so it's not running all night. If you're on a budget, or want to try it out first without purchasing one, there are a ton of YouTube videos that have hours of white noise.
#2 - Write before bed! Take about 5-10 minutes before you lay down to make a list of things on your mind. It can be anything from things you need to do the next day, to random thoughts you had during the current day, or simply something you don't want to forget to do. Most of our processing about the day happens at night when there's quietness around us. We may think about what we've accomplished or, better yet, what we haven't accomplished during the day or perhaps what we could do better the next day. We think about the conversations we had with our boss, situations we may have wanted to handle better with our spouse or loved one, or anxiety regarding a big presentation we have to give the next day. So take a few minutes to write down what's on your mind. There's a process that happens when you physically see your thoughts on a piece of paper. Writing things down helps to give those thoughts less power and energy so that you're able to sleep more soundly without a racing mind. Plus, if those things are on paper, you're less likely to forget them which may be the reason your mind won't stop thinking about them in the first place.
#3 - Sleepy Time Tea! You can buy an all natural tea at your local grocery store. Drink it about 10 - 15 minutes before you go to bed! Drinking tea is not really my personal "go to"; however, I have a lot of clients who love their Sleepy Time Tea and drink some every night
#4 - Don't eat carbs or watch TV prior to going to bed! Heavy carbs right before bed may keep you up at night. If you're a cereal eater at night or like to have heavy carbs for dinner, try eating earlier that night to give your body time to process the food instead of going to bed on an empty stomach. Also, a lot of clients of mine watch TV in bed. The extra stimuli can keep you up. Especially if you're prone to watching something with a lot of drama or action. If you have an anxious brain, you might find yourself thinking about the TV program while you're trying to sleep.
#5 - SEX! Come on guys... we were all thinking it!... no? just me? haha =) Sex burns energy and increases endorphins. If you really can't sleep get closer to your partner and burn some calories in the process =) Men have a refractory period after ejaculation which causes them to become drowsy and relaxed. Women's brains go literally BLANK during an orgasm. If you can't turn your mind off on your own... your orgasm certainly will! New studies are even saying that pain is actually reduced during the female orgasm. Lucky for us ladies! (This may be a new aid to pain from menstrual cramps - but that's a topic for another blog post!)
If you're attempting different holistic approaches and you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist for different medication options. There are many sleep medications that are non-addictive so don't be afraid to reach out for other assistance from your medical doctor.
As always, please let me know if there are any questions or topics you would like me to post about in future blogs.
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