Catching Zzzzz’s

I have a hard time falling asleep. I use to take 1/2 shots of NyQuil or Sudafed PM when I know I’m going to have a hard time falling asleep. I picked something in the medicine cabinet because it was just convenient at first, but now I realized that’s pretty ridiculous. I recently tried Herbalife’s Sleep Now all natural pills, which works pretty good. Although…there must be a better way! This article from MSNBC gave some insightful tips:

Going directly from your desktop to your pillowtop
Solution: Create a routine that sets you up for snoozing

If you give your body cues that it’s time for bed, you’ll drift off faster once your head hits the pillow. “About 20 minutes before bedtime, step into a hot shower or bath,” recommends Michael Breus, Ph.D.

Warm water relieves muscle tension, and when you step out, the cool air dials down your inner thermostat, mimicking the way your body naturally cools itself during sleep.

Results: This actually works! I’ve started a pilates class so I’ve been taking shower at nights and it’s the best feeling when I crawl into bed…clean and sore.

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Avoid heavy TV shows, create a bedtime ritual and other top tips
Example: Watching financial doom and gloom on the 10 o’clock news
Solution: Laugh at reruns of Ross and Rachel flirting

The National Sleep Foundation poll found that 27 percent of respondents were kept awake by money worries.

“Watching CNN before bed is like eating a spicy meal and then trying to nod off,” says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a sleep specialist.

Old-school advice calls for switching off the tube, but new research suggests that sitcoms may be a better antidote. A 2008 review of scientific literature confirms that laughter results in decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. (Just don’t watch in bed, because the blue glow from the TV can keep you awake.)

Results: It’s true. Criminal Minds and Law & Order aren’t good shows to watch right before going to bed. I like How I Met Your Mother.

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Lying in bed mentally planning tomorrow’s to-do list
Solution: Do a data dump after dinner

At least two hours before bedtime, write out tomorrow’s to-do list and jot down a possible solution next to each item.

“The only time most of us have a moment to ourselves is when we’re trying to fall asleep,” says Mark Mahowald, M.D. And we typically don’t spend it calmly recalling last summer’s vacation; we use it to worry about unfinished business, he says.

Results: I don’t do this often, but sometimes I’ll stay awake thinking about what I need to pick up from the grocery store or returning something at Target.

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Taking a trip down What-If Way
Solution: Balance your perspective

“People tend to catastrophize when they feel stressed,” says Karen Reivich, Ph.D.

Next time a problem has you in bed wrapped up in what-ifs, follow Reivich’s Rx: Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. On one side, list all your worst-case scenarios until you come up dry. On the other side, write the best possible outcome for the same situation. Balancing catastrophic scenarios against their best-case counterparts makes it clear that neither is likely to happen.

Results: This is completely me! This is where I start to pour out my emotions and go all Dawson’s Creek on Ricardo. It usually starts with…”sometimes I feel like…”or “ever wonder if…” Why do I do this right before I go to bed?

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Downing a glass or three of chardonnay to take the edge off a rough day
Solution: Practice relaxation techniques that work.

Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system, so drinking can help you doze off. But three or four hours later, once your body has broken down that half bottle of vino, it acts as a stimulant — meaning you’re wide awake at 3 a.m. and unable to fall back asleep, Arand says. Next time, try these techniques to keep you snoozing through the night.

Ease your breathing. “Your respiratory rate slows about 20 percent during sleep,” says Breus. Inhale for a count of six, then exhale for a count of six.

Picture yourself on a warm beach. Visual imagery can replace stressful thoughts with soothing ones. Even mentally planning tomorrow’s outfit may help you drift off faster (and cut down on morning prep time).

Flex, relax, repeat. Tense the muscles in your right foot for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat on the left side, then work the rest of the muscles in your body one by one. This exercise helps you relax and puts your focus back in the here and now.

Results: Ricardo use to throw a happy hour when I got home from work. He once saw it on an episode of Kings and Queens when Doug started making cocktails for Carrie….remember that one? I had no idea what he was up to until I saw that episode. It was pretty short lived because I started to feel like an alcoholic and plus…I caught onto him. Now…I would much rather have a foot rub…and the occasional Mojito.

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One thought on “Catching Zzzzz’s

  1. meg says:

    What a great post. I wish I had a problem sleeping. I slept for 11 hours last night. 🙂

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