A good night’s sleep allows us to tackle things with a clear head, more confidence, and in my case, more patience. Whether it’s writing a story lede, maintaining my running pace, or sitting in traffic, having seven hours of recharge under my belt makes my days run more smoothly. While some attempts at slumber cannot be controlled (like my husband’s snoring) there are ways to get in the groove that don’t involve counting sheep.
According to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety, depression and stress add to insomnia and the quality of your night’s sleep. Here are some tried and true tips to prepare for, and enjoy much needed down time:
- Set an internal time clock
Humans like routine; it’s comforting and the inner time clock can help regulate your sleep pattern. Try heading to bed at the same time every night. Pick up a book that you’ve been meaning to get around to and treat yourself to 15 minutes before turning the lights out.
- Develop a bedtime routine
Try a few minutes of meditation, quiet music or simple yoga stretches.
- Curb the caffeine
Ban coffee, tea and soda with caffeine from four o’clock. Look for calming non-caffeine choices.
- Create an inviting sleep environment
Quiet, dark, and relaxing. If you have noisy neighbors or are surrounded by city buses and trains, try a white noise machine, relaxation music (I like Celtic Bells) ear plugs, heavy curtains, or those sleep shades ala “I Love Lucy.”
- Increase your thread count
Splurge for a set of good quality sheets, or at least a pillow case. The smooth, silky cotton will feel wonderful.
- Clear the air
Considering that you’ll be breathing in the room’s air for seven to eight hours, be mindful of the quality, especially if you’re prone to dust and mold allergies. Try a HEPA filter.
- Go essential
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils in aromatherapy due to its calming effect. Try a few drops on your pillow.
- Grandma Jeannie’s head-to-toe technique
My late grandmother would visualize calming her body beginning with her toes, and work her way up to the top of her head, taking a few seconds to address each area. It really worked!
- Wetter is better
Treat yourself to a warm bath or shower, which will calm your muscles and help wind you down.
- Uber high tech
Remember stumbling across technical journals that put you to sleep? Now’s the time to start collecting them and putting them to good use!