Monday, June 1, 2009
Can't sleep? Try these 15 Tips
Practice "Good Sleep Hygiene". Here are some tips for you to try: 1. No reading or watching TV in bed. These are waking activities. If your insomnia is chronic, it is not a good thing to do, says Dr. Alex Clerk, head of Stanford Sleep Disorder Clinic in Palo Alto. 2. Go to bed when you're sleepy-tired, not when it's time to go to bed by habit. 3. Wind down during the second half of the evening before bedtime. More specifically, 90 minutes before bed, don't get involved in any kind of anxiety provoking activities or thoughts. Don't open your mail, email or watch the evening news. Those events are not always anxiety producing, but you never know when they will be. 4. Practice breathing with your abdomen, using low slow evenly spaced breathes that make your belly move more than your chest. Focus on tightening then relaxing major muscle groups, starting with your toes and ending with your forehead. 5. Your bed is for sleeping, if you can't sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. 6. Set your room temperature to be cool rather than warm. 7. Don't count sheep; counting is stimulating. 8. Exercise in the afternoon or early evening; but no later than 3 hours before bedtime. 9. Don't over-eat; and eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. 10. Don't nap during the day. If you get sleepy and are not ill, try to postpone that nap. See if you can delay it and forget about it altogether. 11. If you awake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something else. Avoid turning on the lights or working at a computer. Light entering your eyes will stimulate your brain's day/night balance and keep you awake. 12. Avoid all coffee, alcohol and cigarettes 2-3 hours before bedtime. 13. If you have disturbing dreams or nightmares, use your mind's eye to "add" and ending that you prefer. It sounds a bit weird, but force yourself to imagine a whole different ending scene. Write the replacement ending in a notebook if you can't hold onto it. 14. Schedule a half-hour writing about your concerns and hopes in a journal every night to free up your sleep from processing your dilemmas as much. 15. Listen to calming music, self-hypnosis or brain recalibration tape for sleep.