5 Ways to Prepare for Sleep

asleep-on-subway Over 1/2 of America’s adults experience insomnia at least a few nights a week!*

Do you toss and turn? Wake up often during the night? Have trouble turning your brain off at night? Wake up early without falling back to sleep? If yes, then you are probably one of the 50% who experience occasional insomnia.

I’m going to share how I prepare myself to be sleepy, so I can surrender to sleep. Like half of the Americans, I too experience occasional insomnia. I have learned to be less anxious about not sleeping well on occasion. I see it as a time to catch up on my reading! Before I share what works for me, let me first explore what contributes to insomnia.

Why can’t we sleep?

Is it emotions? Is it overworking? Is it a poor diet? Is it substance related? Is it hormones? The answer could include any or all of these triggers. For example, Joe is unable to get a restful night of sleep since his mother died. He’s been working late to pay for the funeral costs. And, he’s worried about his Dad being alone. Joe finds himself drinking a few cocktails to wind down. He starts out sleepy, yet wakes up often. In the morning, Joe is still tired and has to start the cycle all over again.

Sleep deprivation can definitely lead to more insomnia. The more tired you are, the more tense you are. The more tense you are during the day, the more you can’t relax at night. The more you worry about not being able to sleep, the more you can’t fall asleep. Joe, and many Americans, are caught in a vicious cycle.

What can we do to break the insomnia – sleep deprivation cycle?

How can we get sleepy?

The frustrating thing about sleep is you cannot force it to happen. The good news is you can invite sleep. We prepare for everything else in life, why not sleep? You can prepare to be sleepy by establishing a bedtime routine and/or incorporating daytime relaxation. Here are 5 practical sleep ideas that have worked for me in preparing to be sleepy:

1. Establish regular sleep and wake patterns. Try to get up and go to bed around the same time each night. This helps set your internal clock. Eventually, your body will naturally get tired at the same time each night.

2. Do something relaxing before going to bed. Turn down the lights, read a good book, take a bath, watch a funny movie, etc. Avoid stimulating activities and substances, such as exercise and homework right before bed.

3. Don’t worry or work in bed. If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and find a quiet, relaxing activity to do in a dimly lit room. The more time you spend in bed, the more likely your sleep will be disruptive.

4. Take a break. Whether you stay home or work out of the home, down time for both mind and body can improve your ability to relax and let go at bedtime. Experiment with different relaxation and breathing techniques to find what works for you. Try mini-moves by sounder sleep system for breathing techniques to be used for daytime and nighttime relaxation.

5. Get some exercise.  Whether you prefer yoga, walking, swimming, dancing, running, or aerobics, it doesn’t matter.  Your body will be tired and invite the still and heavy feeling that comes with sleep.  Remember, exercising to close to your regular bedtime can be too energizing, so find the best time for you to move your body.

There is nothing like a good night of sleep!  Feeling refreshed and energized is a great way to start a new day.  Yet, in our fast-paced society, many individuals are sleep deprived and/or have trouble sleeping well. If you need an alarm to wake up in the morning or sleep in on the weekends, you may be functioning out of a sleep debt.

Now, it’s your turn to make a sleep deposit. Which of these 5 ways helps you prepare to be sleepy? Or, add your own ideas. Share when you get your best, most restful night of sleep.

*National Sleep Foundation polls

4 responses to “5 Ways to Prepare for Sleep

  1. I have never had problems sleeping, the maximum number of hours I require is 6, and many times I require less but once I am parallel to the bed, I hardly last 5 minutes. My wife is the opposite she takes a while before she can doze off and is always very jealous.

    However, this is what I have found out about getting enough sleep. There are some things you cannot affect while you are in bed so why worry about it. So if I have any lingering problem, it cannot be solved while I am in bed so why worry about something you cannot change at that moment. Tomorrow is another day, let tomorrow take care of itself.

    Worrying is the greatest source of anxiety and anxiety is the greatest disrupter of a good nights sleep.

    • Peter,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I agree that anxiety/worry is one of the biggest disruptor’s of sleep. Finding a way to manage worry whether it’s night time or day time is helpful. Thanks for sharing what works for you. It sounds like you have a great ability to surrender to sleep and let tomorrow worry about itself

  2. Hi Marci,
    I like how you advise not to worry or work in bed. With laptops and tablets, it’s all too easy to do!

    I do however use technology to prepare for a good nights sleep and to make use of that time when my conscious mind is tired. I listen to a guided meditation on my iPod! Often I am asleep before it finished and have to wake up briefly to turn it off. I don’t worry that I lose value by falling asleep while it’s on. On the contrary, I know the messages I have chosen to listen to go directly to my subconscious mind!

    Do you know what is the recommended amount of sleep?
    Lori

    • Hello Lori,
      You know what works for you. For me, it’s reading or TV. You are plugging in to relax not to energize.
      I think sleep needs vary with age. For adults, I think it’s on average 7-8 hours a night. You’ll know when you don’t need an alarm to wake up, that you’ve gotten enough sleep.