This is a tough one!
Tony Robbins was doing an interview with someone about the different times of history as compared to the times of our current lives. The truth is that each time of our life brings us extra sleep challenges.
A typical cycle:
- When you were a child you went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up.
- As a teenager, they moved your bedroom to the basement and it was always dark. You probably slept a lot.
- Then you got out on your own and partied all-night and slept all day. I am sure that wasn’t healthy at all.
- Then, you got married and had babies and were exhausted and wanted to sleep but couldn’t because your babies wanted you 24/7. You were probably very sleep deprived during that time.
- You finally started sleeping normal again and then…
- Your children started dating and driving. That just about does you in! Thank goodness for cell phones, but even so, you can’t fall asleep until they got home.
- Then your kids went to college and you started sleeping like you did when you were a child again. Asleep when it gets dark and up when the sun rises…life is good.
Of course that cycle isn’t the same for everyone and is just an example but it is a great way to view a typical sleep pattern. Sleep is so important. We are meant to recharge our batteries nightly and if we don’t do that we start to bear the consequences (I tend to get a tad grumpy)
Some of the sleep deprivation affects:
- Weight (gain or loss)
- Function (performance)
Whenever you have troubles sleeping, you could tie your troubles to hormones, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, children’s activities and wine! As long as you know the reason, I think you can eliminate the problem.
Some tips for better sleep:
- Establish a rhythm of sleep, go to bed at the same time nightly and get up at the same time.
- Take short naps if you missed sleep the night before (20 minutes is optimal)
- Supplement your Vitamin D (if you aren’t sure, have a blood test and get it checked…then supplement it)
- Get some sunshine during the day
- Get exercise during the day
- Turn off your television, computer and iPad at night
- Turn lights down at night
- Have a comfortable bed
- Block noise out
- Block light out
- Make sure your bedroom is cool
- No caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep
- No large meals (especially beef) before bed
- No alcohol
- No smoking
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Deep breathing
- Muscle relaxation (like biofeedback where you progress through your body)
- Envisioning your peaceful place
I definitely not an expert when it comes to sleep. My sleeping habits definitely change about every 5 years it seems but I do notice a huge difference when I really make an effort to stick to a plan and start to relax an hour before bedtime. Yet, I confess to checking Facebook a few times, then getting my Ipad out and watching a movie to fall asleep. This is obviously a huge no-no. Yet for me it is relaxing. The times I fall asleep to a meditation, is probably the best feeling. So take it from me, even though watching TV before bed is relaxing and you may fall asleep easily to it, try to decrease that time. Watching television sometimes relaxes you, but more often stimulates, even more often, you end up watching television until it is time to get up because you get caught up in a movie.
- Whatever you are thinking about when you wake up, empty it out of your head by substituting thoughts.
- Relax. Don’t even think about falling back asleep, think about relaxing and take the pressure off.
- If you have to, get up and do something for a few minutes to break things up. Stay away from the television and computer more like reading a book or article.
By changing the way you eat, getting lots of exercise and being more aware of the things you do, you can eliminate sleep problems entirely! Of course if you are a parent sometimes the little munchkins who get scared at night, are sick or have troubles sleeping can cause some interruptions. But while you are trying to calm them down to go to sleep try to do the same for yourself.
What are some of the sleep challenges you have had? How do you get to sleep? Share it below! I can’t wait to hear!