Everyone needs to sleep! As I mentioned in my last post “You Will Sleep Again!” I had the chance to speak with Dr. Hanna from Kaiser Permanente, Orange County about sleep! One of my favorite things in the world is waking up in a big bed in an ice cold room with a fluffy duvet hugging me tight! The only problem, falling asleep.
Now, I highly recommend that you bookmark this post. Dr. Hanna shared some of his top sleeping tips and I will tell you this, they work! I haven’t slept better! First things first, how many of you have non-stop thoughts running through your head before bed? The minute your head hits the pillow, you A) Remember everything you were supposed to do that day that you didn’t. B) Start making a list of things you need to do tomorrow or throughout the week! If you could see me now, I am jumping up and down, waving my arms in the air yelling, that’s me!!!!! This was my biggest question for Dr. Hanna, HOW DO I TURN MY THOUGHTS OFF, I just want to sleep!
When I asked Dr. Hanna about turning my thoughts off so I could sleep, he asked me if there was anything out of the ordinary going on. Was anyone sick, were there any special events coming up, or do we have a baby? If so, the excitement or stress of these events can cause us to lay awake at night, AND THATS TOTALLY NORMAL! However, if the tossing and turning lasts longer than a three week period, it may be a little more serious.
There are 2 paths to determining your sleeplessness, Nature and Nurture. Nature is more of a medical path. You can’t sleep because of pains, aches, medicine or medical reasons, etc. Nurture is more lifestyle driven. If you feel that your sleeplessness is driven from the Nature path, you should contact your Doctor to discuss options that will help you get to sleep.
Now, if you feel like Nurture is your path, get ready to take notes!
Sleep Preparation : Your body knows when it’s time for bed based on your routine. Whether you shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, walk through the house, set an alarm, read, watch tv, pray whatever… your body knows its time to sleep based on the night time routine signals being sent to your brain. But for some, those signals may not be enough to help you close out your day. Below are a few tips that you can try to help you fall asleep easier and quicker!
- Sound – Kill the noise that surrounds you as much as possible. This may be hard, but use whatever it is you need to in order to kill the noise. Try earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out the noise.
- Light – Light keeps you up no matter what. The “Blue Light” which is common on electronics will keep you up as well. Turn everything off that you can that radiates light. If you can’t turn your phone off, turn it over so you don’t see the light. Also, try a sleep mask those help too!
- Environment– What does your bedroom look like? Is it a mess? A cluttered room will remind you of things that need to be done. Also when walking in to your room, it should be a positive experience. When you walk in to your place of rest it shouldn’t remind you of work, bills, projects, laundry, etc.
- This room is to be your escape to relaxation. Think of it like this, what feeling do you get when you walk into a beautiful hotel room? You want to kick off your shoes, jump on the bed, relax and enjoy! Try treating your bedroom the same. Make it a place you feel good walking in to. Do you like your sheets? Do they fit the season? Are your pillows fluffed and comfortable? How’s the mattress? Make this a place you can go relax and shut the world off if you need to, even if it’s just to catch your breath.
- Also, try putting the air on and setting it to 65 degrees while you’re doing your nightly routine. This is the ideal sleep temperature that helps the body relax and sleep better!
- Alcohol– Your alcohol intake will impede you from reaching the point of deep sleep.
- Exercise– Exercise is GREAT! However, it’s not recommended right before bed. If working out at night try doing it 3-4 hours before bed. This will allow your heart rate to calm down, as well as let your body cool off.
- Caffeine– When drinking or taking anything with caffeine, it is proven to stay active in your body for up to 6 hours. This could be coffee, soda, energy drinks or even any medication you take for a headache!
- Food– Want a late night snack? No problem, just make it a protein and carbohydrate snack! Don’t know any good protein and carbohydrated snacks? Try cereal and milk , cheese and crackers, fruit and granola, PBJ or even a piece of turkey!
Still having a hard time sleeping? If you are tossing and turning for more than 15-30 minutes try getting up and going in to another room and do something that you enjoy. However, try and stay away from bright lights and the blue light “electronics.” You will soon start to feel sleepy and then once you hit the pillow, out you’ll be!
For more information, visit http://www.kp.org/orangecounty