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Nov 25, 2008

Shut-Eye Strategies

I Love Sleep

I really do love to sleep.  Maybe it comes from the marathon schedule that I keep with two kids, a full time job, a house to run and maintain, and two dogs; but sleep is indeed my friend.  I tell people often that I consider sleep to be one of my hobbies and look forward to a Sunday afternoon nap. (Although these are hard to come by now with early choir practice on Sundays for the Christmas music!)

With the holidays upon us and added items to our marathon schedules, we need a sense of focus during the day, and much rested nights to get it all done.  So to have the occasional nights where I wake at 1:30 AM or 2:00 AM and I continue to look back at the clock, till it's after 4:30 AM, is not fun.  I had one such night last night. 

SHUT-EYE Strategies

But just glancing through the October edition of the More magazine I found some great tips. (And no, I am not over 40, I was just looking at the office copy!) 

I wanted to try these out so I thought I would share what they had to say here: (The following bulleted items are and excerpt taken from More, October, 2008; Body & Mind series, titled: "Remember Sleeping Through the Night?")

  • Exercise on a regular basis (although not within two to three hours of your normal bedtime).
  • Keep in mind that sleep problems can be a side effect of some medications prescribed for colds, allergies, high blood pressure, pain, asthma, heart disease and depression.
  • Ask your doctor to check your thyroid with a blood test that measures thyroid stimulating hormone...
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.  Individual reactions to these substances can vary.  Caffeine can affect sleep even when it's consumed as early as 10 to 12 hours before bedtime.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene:  Keep your bedroom dark, keep it cool, use it only for sleep and sex, stick to a regular sleep schedule and avoid heavy meals in the evening.  These commonsense basics can help preserve both the quantity and quality of your sleep as you get older.
  • If stress keeps you awake, experiment with relaxation techniques such as meditation, visualizing and deep breathing.  Or try body scan, an exercise to note the tension in each part of your body and consciously let it go...

I also could add one more that helps me.  If there is something on my mind, I keep a notepad by my bed for getting up and writing down my thoughts so I can "let them go".  Especially if you write this can be helpful, or just adding a critical item to your 'to-do list' because it comes to you in the middle of the night can help get it off your mind.

Your Turn

Now do you have a tip for those sleepless nights you can share?

Photo Credit:  http://www.dallas-sleep.com/assets/sleep-on-desk.jpg

1 comment:

dadshouse said...

I live for my 20 minute naps!

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