Happy New Year!
Winter weather makes it hard to get out of bed, doesn’t it? The warm comfort that holds us willingly inside the soft folds of our blankets makes it hard to move on to our ever growing to-do lists and responsibilities we are beholden to. It can also be hard to move out of our cozy nest if we have not had a restful night’s sleep. Many people struggle with sleep problems on a regular basis and most of us have had trouble dealing with it from time to time. Sleep can harness our mental abilities like nothing else. We are more productive, alert, and research is now showing, even happier and calmer, when we have had a good night’s sleep.
In an article by Laurie Meyers in the American Counseling Association’s magazine, Counseling Today, May 2014, there is new research connecting the chronic insomnia to mood disorders due to sleep playing a significant role in emotional regulation and processing. I decided to share some of the articles’ suggestions for getting a good night’s sleep with you, in my hopes that this new year brings about the positive changes you are all working towards!
1.) Plan you meals. Don’t eat a big meal before you turn in. Digestion can interrupt sleep.
2.) Alcohol also interrupts sleep patterns. We think that it might help us sleep, but the digestion of sugars contained in alcohol can cause us to wake and interrupt deep sleep.
3.) Exercise in the morning or late afternoon can help us go to sleep more soundly.
4.) Getting just 10-15 minutes of sunshine can help us reset our sleep-wake cycle. Our bodies have an internal rhythm that takes cues from sunshine and darkness.
5.) Turning of the TV, tablet, or cell phone an hour before we sleep can also cue in these internal signals to sleep.
6.) Having a regular schedule and routine before bed can encourage sleep. Our bodies become very sensitive to routine.
7.) Relaxing activities like reading before bed can promote restful sleep.
8.) Certain teas or supplements like Chamomile can help ease the body and mind into restful slumber. There are other essential oils, like lavendar, that can be rubbed on the feet or behind the ears to help the body relax for bedtime.
9.) Meditation in the morning or afternoon can allow the body time to relax so that when bedtime rolls around, your mind is at ease. Many people report worry and anxiety prevent them from falling asleep at night, but these are states of being that we may be experiencing throughout the day. By managing it at various points throughout the day we can be more relaxed as we approach bedtime.
10.) Caffeine intake can keep us awake, but many people drink it throughout the day. By taking caffeine out of your diet after 12 noon, you may help your body relax towards the end of the day. Caffeine can stay in your system much longer than you think and it varies depending on the individual.
My wish for you is a restful, peaceful, and happy New Year!