1. Create your SLEEP SANCTUARY! Your environment plays an important roll in getting a good night sleep. Keep your bed clear and clean. Only use your bed for sleeping. Do your homework, phone calls, TV watching, planning, worrying and hanging in another part of your room or house. Consider using sound (consider white noise or audio CD), comfort objects (blankies, pillow, stuffies), and familiar smells to create a special sanctuary for sleep. Associate your bed with sleeping and rest. Also keep your room as dark as possible, turn your alarm clock away from bed, or consider wearing a sleep mask. When you go to bed this will cue your mind to rest/sleep.
2. BEDTIME ROUTINE – Have a regular nightly routine. This will help cue your body for sleep. Include a relaxing activity like: bath, massage, reading, relaxing music and mediation/prayer. Things to avoid before bed: TV, computer, texting, answering e-mails, arguing, cleaning, caffeine, sugar, exercise, finances, laundry, to do lists, reading upsetting or scary books, phone calls.
3. G-O-T-O-B-E-D – Keep a regular schedule. Go to bed at about the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This will help set you bodies internal clock and make falling asleep and staying asleep easier. Schedule at least 8 hours of lights out/down time each night. Always fall asleep in your bed (not in front of TV or computer). Try to go to bed when you are just tired and not overtired.
4. Let REST be your goal. When you lie down to sleep think about resting instead of sleeping. Positive self-talk and calming the nervous system are important in getting better sleep. If you have had an active day, REST YOUR BODY/MIND AND SLEEP WILL COME. Relax your tongue, chin and jaw first this will help rest your mind. Consider gentle yoga or relaxation excersizes.
5. To NAP or NOT to NAP? Naps can disturb your night sleep so avoid the NAP TRAP. If you must nap make sure you sleep for no longer than 30 minutes. Set an alarm to ensure you get up. Stay tuned for tomorrow's note: What to do if you feel tired in the day. Remember naps are for babies!
6. SLEEPLESS? Try SUDOKU! If you are lying in bed awake for more than 30 minutes, get up and do an activity that focus’ the whole brain, like sudoku. Then when you start to feel tired go back to bed. Repeat as needed. The activity should be one you can stop in the middle of. This is helpful if you have trouble shutting o...f your brain or have thoughts in the back of your mind. Give it a try and let us know how it goes
7. CALCIUM is a sleep initiator. Take your calcium/magnesium supplement before bed. Avoid caffeine 6-7 hours before bed.
8. EXCERSIZE for Better Sleep. Get regular moderate exercize but avoid heavy exercize in the evenings or before bed. Try: Walking, Yoga, Tennis, Tai chi, Rollerblading, Skating, Horseback riding, Hiking, Golf, gardening, Skiing, Dancing, Cycling, Bowling, Baseball, Volleyball or Football.