March 10, 2010

Where’s the Off Button?

Posted in Changes in Sleep, Healthy Sleep, Healthy Sleep and Driving, Sleep and busy lifestyle, stress and sleep, Uncategorized, weight and healthy sleep tagged , , , , , at 1:07 pm by tempurpedicchallenge

When Racing Thoughts Affect Your Sleep

Make Amy’s school play costume. Call the plumber.  Return that ugly sweat from Aunt Margie.  Did I ever send that e-mail to my coworker? Did I lock the front door?

After running around all day, you’d think that it would take mere seconds for our minds to revel in the quiet of the evening hours, nestled in our beds like bugs in a rug.  Instead of unplugging and letting you rest, though, your brain keeps chugging along like it’s time to take the SATs.

With our overbooked and overextended lives these days, it’s getting harder and harder to keep our sleep time the sacred part of the day that it deserves to be.  We don’t take the time to separate our days from our nights, instead expecting turbo-speed thinking to come to a screeching halt when we decide to hit the pillow.

While lack of quality sleep can have a host of health effects, as we regularly discuss on this site, let’s face it – the most obvious effect it can have is leaving us feeling like Oscar the Grouch on a lunchtime line at the DMV.

The difficult part of all of this is that lying in bed with thoughts-a-flowing can only breed frustration that you can’t fall asleep, perpetuating a cycle of alertness.

You can try warm milk, or even counting sheep. But if you’d like to give more research-backed tactics for getting your brain to wind down a go, try these techniques:

Guided Imagery

Set aside 15 minutes before bedtime for this relaxation method, which demands that you switch your thoughts over to imaging yourself in a soothing environment – sites, sounds, feeling. You can even do this from bed.

How to Practice Guided Imagery

 Deep Breathing

Learning how to breathe sounds pretty funny. We’re all pretty much experts in that. But deep breathing involves some specific steps – ones that calm you, body and mind.

Three Breathing Exercises (from renowned expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, MD)

Instead of staring at the clock ticking closer and closer to 2 in the morning, do your best to truly make getting a good night’s rest mind over matter.

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