Someone said, “I’ve never heard anyone on their deathbed say, ‘I wish I had slept more!’” Another such saying is, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
Those two thoughts, entertaining and true as they might be, minimize the importance of sleep. But, to maintain a healthy range of mental wellness, adequate sleep is essential for everyone and a challenge for many.
Falling and staying asleep is easier said than done. Tossing and turning is not my idea of enjoyable, especially when it is accompanied by my thoughts running laps around every stupid thing I have done or said since childhood.
There is a plethora of suggested tips, pills, and behaviors to try, and what works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. We each need to figure out what works for us because along with water, we do need sleep to live.
I’m not going to bore you with an overview of the research; you can google insomnia yourself. I will share what I find to be helpful.
Take ten minutes of every day to write a stress list; everything and anyone who has upset or annoyed you. Write it OUT of you. Leave your fear, frustration, hurt, and unfair treatment feelings on the paper.
Move your body a lot, every day, and preferably before lunch. (just like coffee) Drink tons of water every day and eat colorful foods. A good night’s sleep begins in the morning.
Never think, “I can’t sleep! Instead, think repeatedly, “Of course I can sleep – I’m exhausted!”
Keep your thoughts in the present moment – the feel of the sheets, your breathing, the weight of the blanket, etc. The past is gone and the future starts when the sun comes up.
Remember a time when you were so tired you could not keep your eyes open. Allow your memory to recreate those powerful feelings.
Establish a routine for going to bed and waking up, just like children. Sleepytime Tea and a boring book is my best routine.
If you are still awake after ten minutes, get out of bed and scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush. If you follow through a few times, you will have the motivation to fall asleep.
Many things that work are silly. Who cares? If they help you fall and stay asleep and don’t involve addictive drugs or abusive alcohol, give it a try—sleeping is a necessity!
What helps YOU get good ZZZ’s?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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