June 28, 2010

How to Get Some Good Zzzzz's

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light.

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
*Reduces inflammation
*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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Mami2jcn said...

I like to read before going to bed.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Thorne said...

Dark and dark and more darkness. I can't stand even an LED button on the DVR. I put a towel over it. The only light I can sleep with is moonlight.

miriama said...

That's interesting: A fan as white noise. I rely on that every night 24/7. BUT I didn't know it qualified as white noise! I also have a favorite soft blanket I use for a pillow. I don't like regular pillows.

Erin said...

My room has to be completely dark and I have to use my pillow or I get a headache. I've started exercising before I go to bed in hopes to help me sleep through the night.

Theres just life said...

I read a short story, don't want to get to interested and wind up reading all night. Also a low classical radio station on a sleep timer, I have yet to hear the music stop. If my mind is too busy I can concentrate on the music to quite it down.

Mary Ellen said...

I worked for an alternative doctor for several years and these are the suggestions he gave and I use.

Not eating sweets late at night is a big help. Taking Magnesium is another help along with Vitimen D.
A dark room also helps to signal your body that it's time for the zzz's!

bee blessed

jenspurg said...

Enjoy talking to my husband before we go to sleep.

Susan C. said...

I agree that a schedule is important. Even on the weekends, I try to get to bed around the same time as during the week.

Jennifer said...

Great post...very interesting!

JC said...

Invest a good pillow helps a lot.

tcarolinep at gmail dot com

SusanD said...

Great post and tips. I'm like you. Stay up too late doing "stuff." Need to stick to a schedule. Have a fabulous weekend. Thanks for the great giveaway. Blessings, SusanD

purplelover04 said...

i found this great app on my ipod and it really help me to sleep better.

purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

Jen said...

I have found that if my husband puts on the Science or History channel to watch one of his shows, I am asleep within minutes!

Anonymous said...

it’s harder for us to get our rest in the summer because of the longer days, but we try to make sure we’re in bed normal sleep hrs…even if the outdoors is a bit light. :-)

~eunice b
rsmile2u @dejazzd .com

icefairy said...

Read a boring book put me to sleep quickly.

EMAIL ewalsh40@gmail.com said...

Actually even though I've always laughed at the idea of Feng Shui, it may have some merit after all.

Even though my bedroom was clean and outwardly straight, I've had a ton of clutter in drawers, closets and under the bed. You know those things that are too good to pitch, but you're too lazy to sell or find homes for.


Well, finally cleaned out the clutter and my sleep habits immediately improved. I don't know if it's psychological, but I wasn't expecting it to change my sleep patterns.

slehan said...

My cat has me trained. I'm a night owl and can easily stay up very late, but about midnight she jumps up on the desk and lets me know in no uncertain term that I need to turn off the computer and hit the hay. Thanks for the contest.