Insomnia is my friend, well that what it thinks it is. It hangs around me every night and sometimes even until dawn. I would like it to go away asap. I want to get my slumber naturally (instead of popping Tylenol PMs) a full night’s rest and wake up refreshed, not groggy. I am guilty of not “reserving my bed for just sleeping.”
I read, play board games, clip coupons, blog (like right now), listen to music, watch vids on my netbook, etc. This is a habit I doubt I’ll break, but I guess if I want restful and re-energizing sleep, the bed must be for sleeping only. We’ll see how long this lasts…
Turning Off and Tuning Out: Practicing “Good Sleep Hygiene”
The following post by Dana Wood is an excerpt from her new book, Momover: The New Mom’s Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!), published by Adams Media. I talk to women all the time who don’t get enough sleep. I’m certainly guilty of this bad habit too and hope Dana can knock some sense into us night owls. Sweet dreams!
It’s a weird phrase, but the basic habits of setting the stage for slumber are known together as “good sleep hygiene.” Here’s all the steps you should take (and stuff you should avoid) if you want to sleep like, well, a baby:
- Put a cork in it -You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: As good as booze is at knocking you out, it messes with your REM sleep. So consider steering clear, at least on school nights. And layoff the coffee after 4:00 P.M., too. That will give the caffeine time to wear off.
- Back away from the fridge -No big meals right before bed, although a light snack is fine. You don’t want your stomach going into digestion overdrive when you’re trying to doze off.
- Finish working out at least four hours before bed -Otherwise, there’s a chance you’ll get all hopped up and energized, and that’s no state of mind/body in which to sail off to Sleepy Town. Yoga might be okay, but why risk it?
- Spring for comfy bedding -You don’t need to spend a fortune (unless you want to), but at least splash out on high-quality sheets and a great pillow.
- Develop routines -Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, do the same “wind-down” things in the same way, religiously. (See my night-night routine in “Worked for Me.”) Practicing the same routine nightly will help send sleep cues to your mind and body.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cold -From the digital clock to street lamps, we underestimate all the light creeping into our bedrooms at night; I’ve actually taken to wearing a mask. If you sleep with a snorer, buy earplugs. And as for the chilly temperature, that’s what blankets are for.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping and sexing -This is a toughie, because who doesn’t have a flatscreen and a pile of books in their bedroom? At the very least, don’t drag your laptop or anything else work related in there. You want your mind and body to associate your bedroom with sleep, not every other activity known to (wo)man.
- Zap the nap -A midday snooze throws off your circadian rhythm, which makes it harder to fall asleep at night. If you’re completely exhausted, limit your nap to fifteen minutes. If you’re zonked out long enough to get through all the NREM and REM cycles, you’ll wake up anything but refreshed.
- Get up if it just ain’t happening -After about ten sleepless minutes, cut your losses, get out of bed, and head somewhere else in the house. Then do something boring and snoozeworthy, such as watching a rerun of a show you’ve already seen about ninety-five times. When you find yourself dozing off, head back to Sleep Central.