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Sleep is precious. Don't you think? So why do I stay up so dang late every night?
I think it is because it is the only quiet part of my day. I don't need to elaborate do I? I love the time after I put the kids to bed and there is peace and quiet. I can do what I want to do. I can finally relax. That is when I like to get on the computer, watch a movie (while folding laundry), read or exercise. All of a sudden, it's after midnight and I have to get up at 6am to go to work! So, why is it important to get enough sleep?
Here are some of the benefits of good sleep:
*Improves your mood
*Can help with weight control because when you are exhausted you are more likely to reach for sugary, high fat and high carbohydrate foods to give you quick energy.
*Keeps your heart healthy
*Sleep reduces stress levels
*Gives the body time to repair
*Improves your memory and concentration
Okay. I'm sold! Now, how do I get better sleep?
*Get on a schedule.
*Don't eat 2 hours before bed. Especially heavy or spicy foods.
*Make sure your room is DARK. No TVs or computers on.
*Keep your room at a cool temperature.
*Create white noise. I sleep with a fan on in my room every day of the year for that very reason.
*Only use your bed for sleep. Otherwise you might associate your bed with working, studying, list making, TV watching, etc.
*Relax before bed. Take a shower, listen to soft music, do some light reading.
*Don't drink too much before bed. That will just lead to late night bathroom trips!
*Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine can affect some people up to 10 hours before bed. So limit the caffeine after lunch. Nicotine is a stimulant and can cause withdrawal symptoms during sleep. Alcohol can reduce the quality of sleep.
Four or five years ago I was dealing with horrible anxiety and depression. I would get panic attacks at night and dreaded going to bed. What made it worse was that I was alone at night. My husband worked 3rd shift and I was left with just my obsessive thoughts, fear and panic. I had to fall asleep with the TV on just to not be left alone with my thoughts. The lack of sleep made my condition worse!
Here are some ways I have dealt with anxiety and insomnia:
*I kept a journal. I wrote down my thoughts so I wouldn't have to think them anymore and could relax.
*I practiced deep breathing. In through the nose and out through the mouth.
*I used a relaxation technique where I systematically contracted and relaxed all the major muscles in the body starting from my toes all the way to my head until I was completely relaxed.
*If my thoughts started to get out of control, I would count backwards from 100 by three's. 100, 97, 94, 91, 88.....and so on. Try it! It's hard and you can't think of anything else while you are doing it.
*I stopped watching the news, CSI or ER before bed or ever! Disturbing stuff! I hated those episodes of ER when someone came in with a simple headache or nosebleed and by the end of the episode they were dead. I had anxiety about my health, so I knew I needed to stop watching those shows that put weird, obsessive thoughts in my head.
*Change your room around if you can. If you dread going to sleep, try putting your bed in a new spot to create new associations.
I hope some of these tips can help you. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep!
What tips do you have for getting a good night's sleep?
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