I thought I would take a second to vent about sleep. My favorite thing about summer is the fact that you can "catch up" on all the sleep you missed while in school. However, as I learned in my psychology class, you cannot actually catch up on sleep. It is a myth we created long ago to make ourselves feel better. In fact, getting more sleep can actually hurt you. I think this happens to me in the summer! I get too much sleep that I end up being more tired and cranky then sticking to my usual 6 or 7. While getting 10+ hours of sleep is a dream come true, I often wonder if it actually helps.
Lately I have been having a terrible time falling asleep. Actually, I am writing this post right now after I have been trying to fall asleep for the past hour. I know staring at a computer screen is the last thing you are supposed to do while trying to fall asleep but I started writing this post in my head and figured I should jot it down before I forget it :)
I think that getting too much sleep has hurt me. Now it takes me forever to fall asleep, I wake up later, and am super tired and groggy throughout the day. And there there are the days when I have to work the next day and my entire cycle gets thrown off. I toss and turn in bed for a few hours before I am finally able to fall asleep. I thought I would share with you all some ways I have found over the years to help me fall asleep. None of these are guarantees but they may help.
1. Relax | This may be pretty self explanatory but often just taking a deep breath and trying to get calm before you shut your eyes can be a big help. One of my biggest problems when I can't sleep is that I just have sooo many things running through my head. If I can push all my thoughts aside and just get as relaxed as possible it helps. Place yourself on a nice calm beach or your most relaxing zone.
2. Stretch | Sometimes it helps to to shake and stretch your arms, legs, and back because it might help you get comfortable and stop you from tossing and turning. If you can find the perfect position to sleep in then you get relaxed quicker.
3. Read | I often use this technique if I cannot fall asleep within the hour. I will turn on a light and grab the book I am reading. It helps recenter your thoughts and distract you from whatever is keeping you awake. I would do this in college a lot right before I would even try to fall asleep because it would take my mind of all the tests and papers and drama that was going on and help me relax before bed time.
4. Stay off electronics | Now I should be taking my own advice right now but hey! It is important to not look at bright lights from computer and phone screens right before you fall asleep. Also, keeping your electronics out of your room will help you focus and relax before bed time.
5. Count sheep | Okay so I don't know if that is the right thing to call this technique since counting sheep is sooo The Count from Sesame Street but I swear this helps me. It is something that my friend taught me back when we were like five and I think she might have made it up to get me to stop tossing and turning but it really works! Basically you have to say goodnight to different parts of your body. So starting from the top you would say, "Goodnight head. Goodnight eyes. Goodnight nose. Goodnight mouth. etc" And you would continue working your way down. I usually never get to my feet but if you do just repeat. It is another way to help you focus your mind and calm yourself.
6. Tea | I love a good warm beverage before bed. I mean tea with milk and honey...can't get much better than that! Try some Sleepytime tea or other tea with soothing properties like Chamomile. And who doesn't like cookies with their tea? Some people say that you shouldn't eat before bed and I usually try not too but I do make exceptions for chocolate chip cookies!
Do you guys have any fail-proof ways that help you fall asleep?