I’m an insomniac, and I don’t just mean one of those people who has trouble falling asleep. I mean I have a medical condition and have to take Ambien every night, just to be able to even get my brain to shut down enough for me to sleep. It seems like most of my great ideas come to me right after my head hits the pillow. So, without my prescription sleep aid it’s pretty much impossible for me to fall asleep. But, even with my medicine I have certain things that I do to help me wind down and to prepare my mind and body for a good night’s sleep. Here are a few tips for getting a great night’s beauty sleep.
- Make yourself a light snack, and I do mean LIGHT. Don’t indulge in starches or sugars, these will only keep you awake and make you feel sluggish in the morning. Treat yourself to some fresh fruit like a banana or some strawberries. During the cooler months of the fall and winter I enjoy a small bowl of oatmeal, maple brown sugar is my favorite. My go-to before bedtime snack at the moment is peanut butter on a whole wheat English muffin. Warm milk with a hint of cinnamon, or peppermint and chamomile tea are good beverages choices to wind down, if you don’t feel like eating before bed.
- Relax your body and mind. I love Pandora for many reasons, one of those reasons is the custom radio station I was able to create as my “Sweet Dreams” station. This stations includes music from Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Brightman and Tori Amos just to name a few. I would suggest creating your own Pandora station that includes your favorite music to relax to, or making a mix on your IPod or even a CD. Listen to this music while doing routine things to prepare for bed. I listen to my station while I brush my teeth, apply my nightly facial moisturizer and body lotion. These things are relaxing for me, thus I’m winding down while doing these activities and the music enhances that state of relaxation. After I finish my nightly routines, I lay down in my bed and put my earphones in, so that I can continue to listen to my “Sweet Dreams” station. Then, starting with my feet I flex the muscles for 10 seconds at a time and then relax them. I do this from the tip of my toes, all the way up to my neck and facial muscles. This releases all the tension that has built up in my body throughout the day and it feels GREAT to get it all out. Then I read for a little while until my mind and body is really beginning to feel relaxed. Also, make sure you keep a bottle or glass of water by your bed, that way you don’t have to get up for it later and interrupt your state of relaxation.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. I can’t sleep with any little bit of noise in the room. Therefore, I use digital clocks. I also don’t like much light in my bedroom, but I don’t like it pitch black either. So, I use a low-light display digital alarm clock. I also have dark brown curtains which block out most of the light from the outside, but they aren’t the blackout curtains that you can buy that allow no light in, that’s just to dark and an accident waiting to happen for me!
- Get comfy and cozy. After you feel fully relaxed from your music, muscle exercises and light reading turn off the lights. Adjust your pillows, comforter and blanket just the way you like them. Then, find the sweet spot. That’s what I call the spot in your bed and the position you hit at the same time and your body just exhales and takes a big “Ahhhh.” It’s kind of like the Three Little Bears, make sure you’re not too hot or too cold, but find a position and bedding position that provides the maximum comfort temperature.
- Now, here comes the hard part. You’ve had a snack, relaxed from your head to your toes, found the sweet spot in your bed and you’re THERE. So, what could possibly stop you from heading straight to Dreamland? Worry, anxiousness, or any kind of negative thoughts. Do not bring school, work or any other kinds of worries or stresses to bed. Imagine you have two jars sitting beside your bed. One is a Worry Jar and one is a Wish Jar. Mentally put all your worries in the Worry jar and close the lid. Then, lay down on your pillow, in the sweet spot, and then think about a few of the wishes in the Wish Jar. These happy thoughts will help you relax, and could just be what pops up in your dreams later. Like Cinderella said – A dream is a wish your heart makes.
So, remember have a little snack, wind down, get comfy, let go of your worries and make a wish. Sweet dreams!