If I had it my way, I’d never sleep. Seriously. I’d be awake 24 hours a day, all year long if I could. There’s just too much I want to do! But unfortunately I, and you, have to sleep. Apparently, it’s important. So I hear.
Jokes aside, you need 7-8 hours a night. Why? A lot of reasons. For one, it helps your body recover from your workouts. It also rejuvenates your brain and balances your hormone levels which is critical if one of your goals is to get in great shape.
But what to do if, night after night, you’re just not sleeping very well? As with all things, I find it helps to have a plan. Preferably, a simple one. Mine is a fairly short process that’s comprised of some pretty common sense stuff. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
One key… you have to do it more than once for it to stick. So, commit to trying this out every day for a week and see what it feels like to actually get a great night’s sleep!
1) No caffeine after 2pm. The precise time may be different for you depending on when you go to bed, but it takes anywhere from 5-9 hours for caffeine to fully leave your system. Plan accordingly.
2) Cool down your bedroom. Sweating while you’re trying to sleep really puts a damper on things (see what I did there?). You can only take off so many layers, but you can always add more. Try keeping the bedroom temp somewhere in the mid 60’s.
3) Turn off all electronics an hour before bed. No TV, texting, Facebook, etc. This may be a hard one, but it’s very important. Obsessively checking texts and status updates is a habitual behavior that can become addicting.
4) Make a cup of tea (decaf please… chamomile is great). Sip it while you read something light.
5) Climb into a fresh bed (which should be made, every morning).
6) Make sure your room is dark. Like, pitch black. The slightest bit of light can disrupt your sleep patterns so cover up any light sources.
7) As you lay in bed, take nice and slow deep breaths. Close your eyes and pay attention to the breath. Just observe the feelings and sensations as you breathe in and breathe out.
8) Now, review in your mind all that you have to be grateful for. Even if things kind of suck right now, you can certainly find at least one thing that you have to be thankful for. Review it in your mind, thinking about all of the people who played a part in that and giving thanks to each one of them.
9) Sweet dreams!