Society practically shames people who value their sleep and sees them as lazy, unproductive, and a budren on the economy… well that was a bit of an exaggeration… maybe.
Anyways, the push for less sleep, more “awesomeness” has resulted in a society that is horrible when it comes to sleep. And if you go to your doctor for any physical or mental ailment, I’m guessing that a prescription of sleep, or rest, is probably given (in addition to other things). It’s like the panacea of all panaceas. Yet we still scoff at people who sleep a “normal” amount. 8 hours?! pft, I only need 5…
For the record I’m going to state, that I like sleeping. In fact, it is one of my TOP priorities in my day to day life. Judge me. Go ahead. I don’t care anymore. Very rarely do I say “fuck it” to sleep. (and don’t call me old!)
Anyways I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips to better sleep! I talk about this all the time with clients, so I figured I should probably write a blog about it. Save me some time 😉
First, I ask my clients this question:
“What is your bed-time routine?”
Sometimes my clients probably think that I think they are 5 years old. But the truth of the matter is, bedtime routines are just as important as adults as they are for kids. I joke around with anyone who is a parent and say something like, yes, you know how important it is for your kid to have a good routine, why not give yourself the same awesome treatment?
What should my bedtime routine look like?
Well, only YOU can answer this question but I’ll give you some hints.
It should not involve screens. (yep, that’s right, I’m shoulding on you).
It should be relaxing (NOT NUMBING – RELAXING – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE).
Actually, that’s it really. It isn’t rocket science. And I’m not gonna give you 10, 20, 50, things to do at night to sleep better because often times (for me anyways) I’m like wtf, really? who does that? Or, I thought this was suppose to be relaxing, not anxiety provoking. Is bedtime suppose to make me feel like a failure at life? NO, it’s suppose to be RELAXING (and not numbing).
What are numbing activities?
Well those usually involve a screen… Are you tell me I can’t watch my shows?!?! No go ahead and watch your shows, but leave like 20-30 minutes or so of no screen time after to tell your brain it’s time for sleep.
The other point I want to make is Alcohol…. So yea, wanted to point out that whole alcohol thing. If you have some alcohol, keep it to a minimum.
Well first ask yourself WHY you are having the alcohol, if you’re numbing, then well I don’t have time for that in this blog post, but I suggest exploring that. If you’re having it with dinner or whatever, then that’s cool. So one drink should be plenty.
BUT if you have lots of drinks, not only are you numbing your emotions BUT you are also setting yourself up for some HOIRRIBLE sleep. When intoxicated you actually SKIP REM sleep and we need that good REM in order to wake up and feel rested, not feeling like you were hit by a truck. Don’t ask the scientific details, go look them up on some medical site. I’m a therapist.
What TIME should I go to bed?
I don’t care what time you go to bed. Go to bed when you’re tired. You’re never tired? I don’t believe you.
How the FUCK do I get my mind to stop racing at night?!
Oh man, this might need it’s own blog post. But this is why having a RELAXING nighttime routine is SO important! This is when you get to work on training your brain to be mindful and shit and ignore the stupid thoughts rushing through your head. This takes time, so don’t expect to be an expert at once. Even experts get distracted. So play around with whatever it is that relaxes your body and your mind at night so that it’s warmed up for sleep. If that doesn’t work, you likely need to practice relaxation starting from the moment you wake up, to when you go to sleep. It’s OK, a lot of people need to do that. It gets better.
Is reading OK?
I’m not one to say not to read. But if you’re struggling with sleep and you read at night, I’d look at things like 1. WHY are you reading? Are you using it to emotionally shut down? Then stop reading and work on those emotions. 2. Are you reading thrillers in bed then having weird ass dreams? Well, you might want to stop that. Also bring up another point.
DON’T DO STRESSFUL STUFF IN YOUR BED.
Memory and location are best friends. Thoughts and emotional states had in the bed, will be remembered in the bed. So keep work out of bed, keep arguments out of bed, keep weird ass stories out of bed. Just be mindful of what “energy” you’re bringing into your bed with you. Yup, I’m getting all weird on you. No I’m not. It’s science.
I think I hit on the important stuff. I could probably write a book on this, so I’ll end here for now. If you have questions, post below or e-mail me. If I get enough I’ll write another post on the matter!