Sleep is one of the most important physical things you can do to stay healthy. Are you getting enough? How can you feel more refreshed in the morning and make sure you are getting enough sleep during the night?
Exercise has been shown to improve your sleep patterns when done consistently, In fact, some studies have even shown that exercise can reduce the possibilities of getting sleep apnea. The more you maintain a regular schedule of walking, aerobic activity, running or biking, the better you will sleep at night. I understand that for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere it can sometimes be a challenge walk, bike, hike during the dead of winter. However, you have to weigh the benefits of sleep vs the hindrances of dealing with the colder weather. Dress warm and use the concept of layers. Instead of ONE winter coat, use several layers, a shirt, a long sleeve cotton shirt, a sweatshirt, THEN your coat. Make sure you wear a scarf to protect your neck from wind and cold getting into your body and ear muffs if like me, you don’t like wearing a hat. If you’re consistent with the amount of activity you pursue, you will see a positive change in your sleep patterns.
Meditation is one activity where you won’t have to wait to see results. If you turn off all electronic screens at LEAST one hour before going to bed and sit in darkness with soft instrumental music playing in the background and simply let your mind drift away, by the time you crawl into your bed, all the work of relaxing will be complete and you’ll find yourself falling asleep much quicker than before. This practice takes adherence, and again here comes that word:
You can’t expect to meditate once a week and think that you’ll sleep well every night. This must become part of who you are. Meditate every night for a week and you’ll see a direct positive result. You’ll fall asleep faster and you will wake feeling more refreshed. Once you see the results, I believe you will continue to do this every night.
Speaking of Proper Bedding. It is important that you have a bedding that fits your sleep patterns. By bedding I mean not just your mattress but your pillow as well. In December 2012, I wrote a column here about selecting the proper pillow for the way you sleep. It is definitely worth a read through again. As I wrote in that column:
I used a soft down pillow for YEARS. It wasn’t until I experienced neck pain that I realized I used the wrong pillow. Read the column linked above to discover why. The other important factor to consider in the proper bedding category is this:
Your bedroom should be used for ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY:
You should NOT be reading in your bedroom.
You should NOT have a television in your bedroom.
All these things become a distraction and they take away the reason FOR YOUR bedroom. You use your bedroom for what it is named for:
By having other experiences in your bedroom, your mind will think that room is used for reading, for watching television, for doing anything other than sleep.
Consistency once again. This time the word is used to say, it is important to maintain a regular time to go to bed. If you go to bed at different times during the week, your body won’t understand the inconsistency and you will find that you won’t fall asleep until the latest time that you go to bed. My bed time is typically by 930 and I do my best to maintain that schedule. It is so important to make a schedule for your bedtime and stay within that time period as best you can.
Finally the other tool I’ve begun using is a smart alarm clock. If you have a smartphone which many people now do, you can find a smart alarm clock app. What this does is that it listens to you as you sleep and it will wake you within a time period that you choose in which you are in your lightest sleep. Instead of blasting an alarm it will wake you to any number of sounds that are available. I use Sleep Cycle, because I found that it is the ONLY app that you don’t have to keep in bed with you. I keep the phone on my nightstand. Sleep Cycle also keeps track of how well you sleep while it monitors your sleep.
If you follow these simple steps, I believe that over the course of a few months you will find your sleep patterns improving. As I said earlier and often, you MUST remain consistent. Otherwise nothing will change.
Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.
Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying. For there truly is no end.