[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #00adef;”] D[/dropcap]on’t you love a bit of irony?
I sure do.
Weeks ago I scheduled to write about all the things I’ve done recently to improve my sleep.
The irony is the last few days haven’t been so great for me with the zzzzzzzs.
If teach is to learn, it seems like the universe it telling me something!
6 Simple Ways I Improved My Sleep
1. Drastically Reduced my Boozing
As a former wine maker, to say I love my vino is a massive understatement.
So it’s a minor miracle that these days I’ve cut my wine intake to 2-3 glasses a week. A WEEK!
Actually no make that a major miracle.
For me, there’s a clear correlation between 2am waking and excess wine. So having a compelling reason has been hugely motivating.
The other trick I’ve found helpful is a technique I learned from Brooke Castillo.
Basically I decide 24 hours in advance how much I’m going to drink. It may not seem like much, but trust me it’s a game changer. I highly recommend checking out Brooke’s podcast episode if you’d like to try it yourself.
2. Cut Back on Caffeine
I love me some tea and some coffee. But apparently my sleep doesn’t love caffeine. So I’ve switch to decaf coffee or herbal teas.
3. Rescheduled my Weekly Sweet Treat
I noticed that if I had dessert after a big meal, I’d be awake in the middle of the night. And my blood sugar would be super high the next morning.
So now I skip the Saturday night indulgence and have my ‘something sweet’ for afternoon tea on Sunday instead.
4. Bedtime Routine
I’ve had a decent bedtime routine for years, but I’ve been a bit stricter with myself and aim for no screen time an hour before bed.
5. Breathing Exercises
When I wake up and can’t get back to sleep I do a breathing exercise of breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 then exhale for 8. It’s a lot of counting. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
UPDATE: I’ve recently been doing this yoga Ujjay Breath instead. It’s much more reliable for helping me calm down and get ready to sleep. It even helps get back to sleep.
6. Practiced Positive Expectancy
For a while I was getting anxious about my sleep. When my Irishman pointed this out I resolved to change my thinking from ‘I’m a terrible sleeper’ to ‘I’m an awesome sleeper, I’ll be back to sleep again soon’
Another subtle one that’s had a massive impact.
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- See the Health Archives.
What about you?
How’s your sleep these days? Tried anything that’s worked well?
I’d love to hear in the comments below…
Great advice – thank you.
I have no problem getting to sleep but I do wake in the night, often around 4am. The only solution I have found to work, is reading. I read before I sleep – fiction with a good story, no suspense / thriller / horror etc. I read on a paper white kindle with the white dialed right down. As soon as I find I’m struggling to stay awake, I put it down and I’m asleep in under two minutes. If I wake up, I get up, go to the bathroom and pee – it’s a distraction I can do without. I get myself as comfortable as possible in my sleep position. I put my jaw into a relaxed neutral position – I find I sometimes clench my jaw subconsciously. I carry on reading. As soon as I’m sleepy, I put down my kindle, with as little movement as possible. 90% of the time, I’m asleep in under a minute. The low level of light from the screen doesn’t appear to trigger my pineal gland unlike a phone / tablet / bedside light. We’re all different, this is what works for me. It shuts down the chattering monkey brain.
Thanks Edward – and you’re so right – we’re all different.
Love hearing what works for other people :)
After working unsociable and inconsistent hours, I suffered from insomnia and lack of sleep for years. Not so much now.
I made the decision to let go of the anxiety I had about *not* “getting enough sleep”. I stopped tossing and turning, and worrying about the alarm clock in the middle of the night. If I do wake up and cannot doze off again, I pick up my iPad, with the screen brightness dialed as low as possible and yellow lettering on black background. The eye movement along the lines are sometimes enough to send me back to sleep. But really, the main hurdle was to stop fighting the insomnia and find something to do, which does not mean get up and work, but might mean go and make a cup of herbal tea and take your mind off the worry.
I learnt to avoid a meat-heavy meal in the evening and I try to finish my last meal of the day by 7 pm, regardless of my bedtime.
I always have a mug of mint tisane on my bedside table to sip during the night, should I feel parched (I love mint in all its forms, feel free to make your favorite herbal drink.)
Regarding breathing exercises, have a look at the Oak app. I find their visualizations very helpful.
Thanks for sharing Claudine!
I’m the same with large meals late at night soo.
And I love your mindset shift – this is something I’m still working on
I’m a terrible sleeper. Like you, I’ve realized that wine is a no no. Even a small bit after 5 pm I will sleep poorly.
I also run. I’m going to have to try the replay of the day in my head. I’ve tried counting backwards from 1000 by 7. Works sometimes. Mostly, because I can fall asleep but not stay asleep, I keep a cold bedroom, limit water after 7, and take an OTC sleeping pill.
Oh Marcia – It’s tough isn’t it?!
I went to sleep easily but would wake during the night usually with cramps or restless legs & couldn’t get back to sleep, so would read or watch stuff on my kindle. Until I listened to a l o n g podcast with Joe Rogan & Dr Mathew Walker author of Why We Sleep. I was amazed at how not having enough sleep affected our well being. I was spending time earthing / grounding myself both outside & with a pad when using the computer, so this information inspired me to purchase a grounding sheet (from the lovely Dr Laura Koniver’s website The Intuition Physician) and my wakefulness is now history – sleeping 7-8 hours a night. Note that going to bed no later than 10.30pm is also a crucial factor in a good nights sleep.
I’ve read about grounding Gwenda but haven’t experimented – thanks for reminding me to check it out :)