For the past few nights, I have had insomnia and can’t fall asleep easily or if I start to doze off, keep waking up every 15 minutes. Fortunately, I eventually get to sleep but am waking up 1 hour later to compensate because I know how important sleep is to my health. My pattern seems to be that I have insomnia every few months for a week or two and then resume normal sleep patterns. Every time this happens, it increases my empathy for people with chronic insomnia.
There are so many benefits of sleep, including regulates metabolism and increases weight loss, balances hormones, and improves clear thinking and recall. When people are sleep deprived, they are more prone to accidents, anger, irrational thinking, weight gain and heart disease.
Ariana Huffington, chief of the Huffington Post, was on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show this morning talking a lot about sleep research and expert recommendations. She raised an interesting question about presidential candidates being sleep deprived while on the campaign trail and how that contributes to lapses and poor performance.
While I have talked about how to overcome insomnia before, I wanted to focus on having a night-time ritual to slow our minds down so we are more relaxed and likely to engage in deep REM sleep.
- Stop working on the computer and checking email and text messages on your phone 1 hour before your bedtime to avoid being wired! In my case, I stop by 9pm because I want to fall asleep by 10 pm.
- Read a book that is ideally pleasant, non-violent and non-controversial to avoid having unpleasant images and overthinking before you go to bed.
- Do some brief meditation and even prayers to quiet the mind.
- Do some easy yoga poses and light stretching to relax your body; my favorite is the child’s pose.
- Take a warm bath with epsom salts or even a hot shower to relax and make you sleepy.
I plan on doing this tonight. Will let you know how it goes. Drop me a comment to let me know how this works for you.