It happens the moment you decide to slow down, climb into bed, and commit to sleep—your brain kicks into hyper-gear. We’ve all faced this situation at sometime or another, but when it happens nightly it is exhausting. When our bodies don’t rest, it’s triggers a myriad of complications in mood, energy, brain fog, body aches, and digestion –to name a few.
Here are a few ideas for finding your Namaste:
Early in the day-
Exercise. Doesn’t matter what it is, breath harder and move your body. It doesn’t have to be for an hour, 20 minutes will calm nervous energy. It also doesn’t have to be a gym, a class or anything organized, just walk.
Caffeine – either cut it out all-together, or none after 12.
Eat better – Chose nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed, fast food and sugar. This takes some prep time at the beginning of the day, but stay with it, you’ll find a rhythm and enjoy how you feel after a period. If you take vitamins (and you should be) take them early in the day. Some vitamins (B complex) boost energy. Learn the names of energy inducing substances and avoid them after mid-day.
Worry. Give your worries a voice. Find a time to sit down and write down all your worries. Each day take one and give it the ‘what if’ test. Ask yourself, “What if this happens, then what?” By going down the what if path, you can come up with a strategy, or you will discover you already know the answer and can head it off, or your worry really is unfounded. Remind yourself that you are currently still around and have survived several ‘what if’ situations. What makes you think you won’t survive this next one?
Power Nap. Set your phone for 20 minutes. Give yourself permission to nap (or just close your eyes and be still) for 20 minutes. Allow no one or thing to interrupt it. I know people who do this in their cars at lunch break. Don’t underestimate the power of this short nap. Don’t let it go over 20 minutes or you’ll fall into the 90-minute circadian cycle and feel groggy and you’ll mess up your pattern for night-time sleep.
CBD – Take 25 mg of CBD in tincture or capsules. You’ll have clarity of thought the rest of the day and then begin to unwind sooner at bedtime.
Just before Bedtime—
To Do List: Write down all the things you need to get done. Then prioritize them with the letters A, B, C. A are the things that must be done first the next day…they are the pressing things. B items are things you need to get to but aren’t like a burning building that requires immediate attention but soon. C items are things you need to get to when you can. They’re important but not vital to surviving the next day. Then leave the list on your desk for the next day.
There are two reasons for this list: prioritizing so you can accomplish tasks and not worry about forgetting them when you lay down to sleep but also so the next day you have a sense of success as you cross off each completed item on the list. Then B items move to the A position, and so forth down the line.
Soak: Take a hot bath, a hot tub, or hot shower. The heat will relax you and open your breathing passages. Move slowly in the water. This will signal to your body you are preparing to rest.
Stretch: Get on the floor, stretch your body. Breath deeply and slowly.
Avoid Alcohol: It’s sugar, sugar is energy…need I say more?
Phone: Get off it. Turn off the sound, plug it in to recharge in another room.
Television and Computer: Turn them off 2 hours before bedtime. The lights from electronic devices stimulate the brain. ‘Nuff said.
Drop the temperature: Turn down the heat. Cool your room down to 65-68 degrees. (I like it much cooler—like nose cold cooler)
Weighted Blanket—These heavy blankets are designed to calm the central nervous system. This is similar to the same reason we swaddle newborns tightly, it lowers anxiety.
Dog Beds: Get the dog a comfortable or warming bed so they’ll stay in it rather then in your bed. Train them from day one to sleep in their bed. It doesn’t hurt your pet and it helps you.
Dark Room – Get rid of anything that has a blue light or lights up the room even minimally. Remember your cell phone is in another room resting on its own. Or use a comfortable eye mask. I use a heated, weighted neck wrap. The warmth and the weight seem to help me drift off to sleep quicker.
Quiet –If you’re lucky enough to live where it’s quiet, open your windows for fresh air. Otherwise, you might need a white noise system.
Socks –Rub CBD lotion on your feet and add socks to your sleeping attire (even if that’s the only thing you wear!) You can also use lavender. I like our CBD lotion (or pain cream if your feet are really hurting) because it’s made with coconut oil and soothes my dry feet. For some people, warming your feet helps you fall asleep faster. You can also put a heated towel or hot water bottle at the bottom of your bed.
Pray—Focus on praise. Save your worries and requests for your morning quiet times. Quote memorized scripture. Sing (in your head) praise songs. Practice gratitude to inspire sweet dreams.
Try one or all of these strategies to fall asleep and stay asleep. Got more ideas? Share them with us!