Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t get to sleep?

Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t get to sleep?

by Kathleen Lisson

Does your room have blackout curtains, a humidifier and the finest bed linens on a comfortable mattress and you still can’t get to sleep at night? The answer may be in your pre-bedtime rituals.

Why Is Sleep Important?

As a San Diego meditation teacher, I know that our number one way to detoxify from the stress of the day is through a good night’s sleep. Meditation can also release stress, but sleep is key to robust health.

How do Insomniacs Try to Go To Sleep?

A Detroit-based study of sleep hygiene among insomniacs found that drinking alcohol, smoking near bedtime and taking naps during the day were common practices in those with insomnia. Read the study, ‘Sleep Hygiene Practices in a Population-Based Sample of Insomniacs,’ published in the Journal of Sleep, here:

My biggest battle is limiting contact with electronics within a half hour of my bedtime. Looking at just one more website or Facebook update is simply too attractive to me and I can easily stay up an hour past my bedtime and then spend another half hour lying in bed with thoughts spinning in my mind.

How Sound Sleepers Fall Asleep

A better bedtime ritual? Set an alarm on my phone for a half hour before bedtime and spend that time reading or performing my pre-sleep essentials - brushing my teeth and applying lotion to my face, arms and legs. Maybe spending time with loved ones or petting my dog? Gazing at the stars or the moon, which are beautiful in San Diego when we don't have a marine layer. Reviewing the needs of the next day and making sure I have prepared everything so I am not stressed or rushed in the morning. Making notes of everything left to do so I won’t have to try to remember them right before I fall asleep.

Fellow meditation teacher Douglas Elam of the Mind Rest Center in Twin Falls, Idaho uses Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breath to fall asleep. Watch a video of this breath practice here:

A Meditation Teacher’s Top Four Tips for Falling Asleep

  • Set an alarm 30 minutes before bedtime, start your bedtime rituals
  • No television or other distracting electronics in the bedroom
  • Don’t use your bed for lounging, train your body to associate the bed only with sleep
  • Use a meditation or breathing technique if thoughts are preventing sleep

What tips for getting to sleep have worked for you?

Kathleen Lisson is a certified Meditation Teacher and Labyrinth Facilitator and teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego. Sign up for a private meditation lesson or labyrinth walk in the comfort of your home here:

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