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How to get an awesome night’s sleep.

Sleep is everything. While the Russian Sleep Experiment may be nothing more than urban legend, a lack of sleep can legitimately cause accidents, idiocy, premature aging and all kinds of other miserable ailments.

I repeat, sleep is EVERYTHING.

While everyone’s REM requirements are different — some people need less sleep, others need more (count me in on the latter), everyone needs a solid snooze to stay at peak performance. It’s hard to be happy without enough shuteye. Just ask any cranky kid in need of a nap.

I’ve had lots of insomnia issues. Thanks to intense anxiety and various other late-night afflictions, I’ve seen more than my share of witching hours. But these days, the vast majority of my sleeps are sound. A rare bout of wakefulness is usually the result of a rogue cup of caffeinated coffee.

My ability for restful repose didn’t come without effort. It’s habit, like everything else.

For all those who know late-night Facebook trolling all too well, here’s how I make it happen:

Ear plugs and an eye mask
This may seem excessive. Awkward, even. But achieving mild sensory deprivation has contributed hugely to my serene shuteye. I’m undisturbed by outside elements, and able to sleep almost anywhere (incredibly handy when traveling). Almost any drugstore ear plugs do the trick, and I recommend the Bucky eye shades.

Nighttime meditations
A meditation right before bedtime can work wonders. Generally, you want to stay awake for the duration of your meditation, but pre-sleep sessions can help relax you. There are lots made specifically for this purpose, including Bernie Siegel’s
Meditations for Morning and Evening.

No glow screens
Aka, no electronics. Electronics in the bedroom are a major no-no — ask any sleep specialist. Eliminating them has made a huge difference for me. This includes phones, tablets — even TVs. If you wanna watch TV, hit up the living room.

Feng shui
Believe it or not, an adherence to feng shui in the bedroom brings a sense of calming energy. That means no plants, closed doors, two bedside tables, etc. Realign your sleep space as needed … you’ll feel better.

No caffeine
Sorry coffee fiends, but it’s decaf or nothing. If you absolutely can’t live without, try a caffeinated cup first thing in the morning ONLY (never later in the day). You’d be amazed at coffee’s ability to keep you from sleep. Luckily, Starbucks serves decaf. You’ll get used to it.

No evening exercise
At least not the heart-pumping kind. Better to save your sweating for the earlier part of the day. Between-the-sheets exercise is another story.

If you can’t sleep, get up
I’ve learned that on a rare sleepless night, lying in bed for hours is a bad move. If sleeplessness sets in, it’s best to just get up. Otherwise, you associate your cozy bed with insomnia, and that’s unpleasant.

Sweet dreams, y’all. <3

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