Your eyes pop open at 2 or 3 AM, and try as you might, you just can’t fall back asleep. Sound familiar??“Everyone has an occasional restless night”.
Yes, I know you’re exhausted. I also know about irresponsible roommates, colicky babies, infants with croup, calming kids with school anxiety, waiting up for teenagers at night, and sleeping with arthritis—and that’s only one thin slice of the gamut of life’s sleep disorders. What I’m trying to do here is present at least an ideal towards which, on those occasions that permit some degree of control, you can at least strive.
Deep breathing and mental imagery techniques can help you sleep through the night or return to sleep after you wake up. “Focusing on a positive experience—like imagining a beautiful beach—allows stress to fade into the background,” says Gary Elkins, PhD, director of the Mind-Body Research Program at Baylor University and the author of the new book Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy.
People who meditate are more relaxed, so when they wake up during the night, they may not get as upset. Insomniacs should practice Kriya yoga meditation for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day for 2 month and even if you don’t have 30 minutes a day, a consistent practice of any length is likely to help.
More than a third of people have acid reflux, and a majority are awakened by it. Your first lines of defense: Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime; try lifting your head 45 degrees to keep acid down; and avoid citrus, onion, carbonated drinks, mint, alcohol, and smoking. If these strategies don’t help, prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may.
People exposed to light at night had shallower sleep and were more likely to experience mini-arousals during the night in a 2013 study in the journal Sleep Medicine. If you read on a tablet, switch from a white background with black font to a black background with white font, which emits less light. Also, dim your device to half brightness or less, and hold it 14 inches away from your eyes.
5.SOAK UP THE SUN
Exposure to natural light during the day can improve your sleep. Researchers at Northwestern recently found that people whose workplaces had windows got 173% more light exposure during the day and slept an average of 47 more minutes per night than their windowless coworkers. Natural daylight may enhance melatonin production come nightfall—one key to a solid night’s slumber.
See you in the morning for the next installment, where we learn life’s greatest secret: how to be awake!!! 🙂