How to Avoid a Bad Night’s Sleep… by Pam Velez

How’dya Sleep? Did You Rest Well?

If those questions leave you feeling bitter and agitated, I am going to guess that you are not sleeping well. Unfortunately, poor sleep is very common.  Whether you can’t fall asleep at night or fall asleep fine but then wake up in the middle of the night with the mind racing, this article is for you.  We all learn in different ways and have different constitutions.  For that reason, what may be a sleep charm for some may not be helpful to others.  Below I offer a number of tips to help you get many wonderful nights of sleep…

Tip #1:  Don’t eat a large meal within 3 hours of bedtime.  If your body is fired up to digest that big burger you ate an hour ago, it may be difficult to sleep.  Eat early, go for a walk to help you digest and then lay down.  Your body will be better able to focus on the task of relaxation rather than digestion.

Tip #2:  Limit/ Eliminate beverages within 3 hours of bedtime.  Waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night is very common.  You are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night if your bladder is not full.

Tip #3:  Embrace airplane mode.  It is best if electronics are out of the bedroom all together.  Cell phones, lap tops and tablets emit frequencies and radiation that are very harmful to our health and can cause sleep disturbances.  If sleeping with the gadgets in your room is a must, turn them on airplane mode. Airplane mode turns off the radiation emissions and will lead to a sounder night sleep and less radiation emissions getting absorbed into your body.

Tip #4: Conduct a body scan.  If you are having a difficult time falling asleep because your mind is racing, try conducting a body scan.  Here’s how: bring your thoughts to body parts very slowly, one at a time.   You bring attention to a specific body part, and then relax it.   This act helps your mind stop racing with external thoughts because it is focusing on sensing the body and falling back to sleep.  Start with the mouth — jaw, lips, roof of mouth, tongue, teeth, gums.  Move on to the face — breathe into the nose, ears, eyes, eyelashes, eyelids, forehead, between the eyebrows.  Continue on with the rest of the body in any way that feels natural and imagine that body part softening, and letting go.  You can find guided body scans on Youtube if you need some external help.

Tip #5: Count backwards. Many people can’t sleep because the mind keeps racing.  A tip I discovered years ago to help turn off the mind is to do math.  The math can’t be too hard or too easy, or the mind will fire up all cylinders again. Try starting at 300 and count backwards by 3’s.  In all the years I have done this, I have rarely gotten to zero.  If you do, just start over.

Tip #6: Limit/ eliminate caffeine after 3pm.  Caffeine is a stimulant.  If you are overstimulated from caffeine in the evening, falling asleep is going to be a challenge.

Tip #7: Breathe. Breath is so powerful, we can use it to fuel or relax our bodies. Just like with math, the mind will struggle to stay on the to-do list if it has something else to focus on, so breathe.  Try inhaling and exhaling very consciously.  With each inhale think “I let”, with each exhale think “go”. Another breath to try is called Dirgha or 3 part breath.  With the inhale, bring the breath down into your lower lungs.  This will cause your belly to expand like a balloon. As the inhale continues imagine expanding your rib cage outward and then as you complete the inhalation breathe into the very upper portion of the lungs, maybe even imagine breathing into your collar bones.  Then exhale a bit slower than the inhale.  Exhaling slower than inhaling will help the body to relax.  Repeat, while staying very focused on the rise and fall of the belly and chest.

I hope some of these tips help you get more restful and sound sleep at night. I would love to hear what works for you. Feel free to email me and let me know your most successful tip.

Published on 6/30/2016 11:18:45 PM

About Pam Velez

Pam Velez is a Registered Yoga teacher and Holistic Health Coach. After spending 10+ years in corporate America, Pam now focuses on helping organizations save money (and retain good people) by providing wellness education and lifestyle support for their employees. She presents fun, interactive, wellness workshops to corporations, women’s groups and universities.
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