How can we get more sleep? I think the first step is to acknowledge that you need more sleep and make it a priority.
Most things in your life are created by choices you have made. So if you make the choice to find the time to get adequate nightly sleep- you will eventually achieve this goal whether you can see how that’s going to happen or not. Make the decision first. Then the next step will unfold for you.
Here are some of the suggestions from Dr. Maas’ books (and oh so ironic I can’t stand it! Many of these items listed are included in my own suggestions in how to lead an overall healthy life, and we’ll be revisiting many of these topics.) Clearly, I’m just touching on them, but if you would like to go further into depth on any of these points, just pick up this book.
1- Reduce Stress As Much As Possible- “A few minutes of peace and quiet everyday, a positive mental attitude, involvement in sports and hobbies, lots of laughs, and the good company of loved ones will go a long way toward reducing tension.”
2- Keep mentally stimulated during the day- boredom can cause loss of sleep. Basically spend your time on things that inspire and excite you instead of just filling up empty space with mundane activities.
3-Reduce Caffeine Intake– Do not drink anything with caffeine within 6 hours of your bedtime. Simple as that.
4- Avoid Alcohol Near Bedtime- You might fall asleep quickly, but your sleep will be disturbed.
5-Take a Warm Bath Before Bed- This redirects blood from the brain to your skin surfaces and makes you feel relaxed and drowsy.
6-Maintain a relaxing Atmosphere in the Bedroom- The trick is to condition yourself to associate the bedroom with pleasure and rest, not with stress and tension. Many suggestions in this book on how to do this.
7-Establish a Bedtime Ritual- I used to do crosswords without my glasses on. I would usually fall asleep within a half hour. Another possibility is to read a book or a magazine (not one that is going to make you stay up all night. You know what I mean). Make sure you are using a small source of light as opposed to overpowering bright lights.
8-Avoid an Environment of Reigning Cats and Dogs- They make noise. Keep them out of your room if possible.
9-Limit Your Time in Bed- Stay in bed only for the time you need to sleep. Depression can keep you in bed, don’t let it. Staying in bed too long only makes your sleep more disturbed and fragmented.
10- Learn to Value Sleep– “If you want to enjoy life to its fullest, you must learn to value good sleep. You must do everything within your power to respect the needs of your body for rest. You owe it to yourself not to settle for anything less than being wide awake and dynamic- at your best- all day long.” I couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂
11- Use a Sleep Log– If you’re like me and you like to check things off- then make yourself a sleep log. Dr. Maas has one in his book.
12- If necessary, consult a sleep specialist– The last resort. I would suggest going through your normal channels to find a doctor.
We’re all individuals with our own individual needs. Take in the suggestions, find what works for you, and go to sleep!!
All quotes are from Dr. Maas’ book “Power Sleep”.
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Your Fitness Coach,