Do you struggle to fall asleep at night?
You work your butt off all day and all you want is to quickly drift off into a restful sleep.
But sleep won’t come.
You feel wound up like a spring, uptight and restless. You lie in bed worrying about all the challenges of the next day, but the one thing that would actually help you tackle tomorrow – sleep – refuses to cooperate.
The causes of sleeplessness
Ambitious people believe that the harder and faster they work, the quicker success will follow.
So you keep pushing and pushing your body and mind – because that’s what successful people do, right?
Quality sleep is essential to allow the body to recover from the stresses of the day. But overwork leaves less time for sleep and increases the pressure to fall asleep quickly. But of course, your mind won’t switch off.
How to effortlessly get some quality sleep
If you think the secret to a restful sleep after a hard day’s work is to have a drink and a smoke, take medication or watch television, you are about to be shocked and pleasantly surprised at the alternatives.
These shortcuts will stop you from creating health problems and crippling your relationships because you will discover how to slow down, drink less coffee, switch off your mind, separate work from home, and sleep better by up to 300% and much more.
1. Avoid coffee in order to wind down and fall asleep in record time.
You know to avoid coffee before sleep because coffee is a stimulant, and that when you are stimulated and full of energy, falling asleep is difficult.
But you may be shocked to know that caffeine can also cause insomnia up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it.
If you need your coffee fix, have it in the morning hours.
If you need a drink before going to bed, drink chamomile tea which calms you down and gets you ready for a peaceful sleep.
A warm glass of milk just before bedtime is also helpful. Milk contains tryptophan which helps you to sleep better.
2. Turn down the volume.
You may live in a neighborhood which is in earshot of the train track, or you may have noisy neighbors who like loud music at bed time. Both are out of your control.
So how do you get to sleep quickly in these circumstances?
1. You mentally transform noise into pleasant sound. If you like the sound of waves flowing against the sand, that’s what you’ll imagine in place of the unpleasant noise. Or find a pleasant sound that works best for you.
2. Try lowering the volume of the noise in your mind by turning it down gently until you find the spot where the noise is no longer an issue.
This will allow you to fall asleep quickly.
Let me give you an example on how to achieve this mental trick.
I was teaching a meditation class one hot summer’s day and all the windows in the room were open for ventilation. We were right beside a train track. So while the students were meditating and the train was passing, some of the students were disturbed by the noise.
I instructed the students to change the loud sound of the train to the quieter, more pleasant sound of water at the beach flowing against the sand. When the next train roared by, my students stayed in the meditation and were not disturbed.
Physical and mental exercises can help you fall asleep quickly.
Exercise before bedtime is not for everyone though, but it is effective for some.
For example, physical exercise like sex before bedtime can sometimes make women fall asleep and stimulate men, keeping them wide awake. Sometimes, men fall asleep right after sex.
If you are stimulated after running, going to the gym or dancing, getting to sleep quickly could also be difficult.
So if you have to exercise at night, give yourself a cooling down period to allow your body to relax before going to bed.
An average cooling down period from my experience is about an hour to an hour and a half.
Let’s talk about mental exercises.
My favorite mental exercise which my grandmother taught me is to count sheep. You lie in bed and you start counting down sheep from 100 until you fall asleep.
Now if this is not effective, you can count sheep in color. Use 3 colors. So imagine the 100th sheep is red, the 99th sheep is blue, and the 98th sheep is green. Repeat the colors for 97, 96, and 95.
TV in your room increases the temptation to stay up and watch it. Therefore you shouldn’t watch any TV at all less than an hour before bed.
The TV is a source of light and we are supposed to sleep in the dark and awaken to light the next day. A bright light can delay your sleep which means you get less hours of sleep.
TV programs will also keep your mind active and delay sleep.
And if you fall asleep watching TV, your brain is still processing the information, which can interrupt the quality of your sleep. You’ll wake up in the morning feeling sluggish and need to find something to boost your energy.
And you won’t have total focus and you won’t be prepared to cope with the problems and stresses of the day either.
You may even learn that you take longer to do the same tasks because you have more difficulty staying focused and managing the task at hand.
5. Eat before going to bed.
Many of us eat shortly before going to bed without thinking what effect this might have on our sleep.
Let’s examine evening foods which allow you to sleep well at night. Then you can adjust your eating habits accordingly.
Sleep- heightening foods:
Whole grains such as brown rice, sustain the body through the night after digestion. This is especially good for anyone who gets up hungry during the night. Legumes such as black-eyed peas and lentils are also beneficial — legumes are a good choice for evening meals because they are a good substitute for animal protein, which can result in sleep challenges.
Legumes can be hard to digest though, so pay attention to how you feel after your meal. If you feel sluggish or gassy after you have a meal with legumes, have them less often or ignore them altogether.
Fruits like bananas, mangoes and dates are great substitutes for your sumptuous deserts like cheese cake. Instead of cakes and pastries with their high sugar content, replace them with fruits which will fill your sweet tooth and help you sleep like a baby.
Fruits do contain sugar, but it is natural and not processed. Fruits are also high in antioxidants which are cleansing and detoxifying.
If you are hungry and you need to eat, eat at least two hours before going to sleep. Sleeping on a full stomach is uncomfortable.
6. Adjust your room temperature.
If the room temperature is high, you will feel hot and uncomfortable.
Personally, because I am very sensitive if the room temperature is high, I will end up with a dry mouth.
By lowering the thermostat to room temperature, I sleep like a baby.
Room temperature happens to be the best temperature for your body when you are asleep.
Quoting from WebMd Magazine by Kathleen Doheny:
“Tony Roy is among the 30% of American adults with insomnia-related problems. ‘I can go to sleep, but I wake up three or four hours later,’ says Roy, a 51-year-old philosophy professor at California State University, San Bernardino.
When he sought help at the nearby Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center, he got advice that had never occurred to him: Pay close attention to your bedroom temperature.”
The temperature in your room needs to be comfortable. This allows you and your partner to have a good night’s rest. If your partner feels cold at room temperature, she can use a blanket. If on the other hand she is hot, she can sleep on top of the sheets.
My best solution is to have the thermostat at room temperature and you both hug each other while in bed and notice how well you sleep. There is something to having four legs in bed. The sheets seem a lot warmer.
Works for me.
7. De-stress before tucking in.
You have been so busy during the day, you are still going over things in your mind at night.
You want to complete all the tasks for the day but sometimes jobs remain incomplete.
Your frustration gets worse because you’re in a hurry to get all the tasks on your plate completed in record time, and your mind is telling you that you have the time to finish them. You need an easier way to manage your thoughts, which will aid your sleep. The answer is found in your state of mind.
You are either in the past or the future when you should be in the present.
You are wondering about all the negatives or failures of the past or imagining when you will have the freedom to stop working long hours and enjoy life.
Therefore you are not in the present. Interestingly, you may find that you spend a lot of your valuable time either in the past or the future.
To stay in the present moment, you need to recognize where you are (past or future) and then gently bring your thoughts of your challenges and concerns to the moment.
Being in the present moment will allow you to quickly fall asleep.
Some practical how-to advice:
You just bought a home and you are excited (present). A year from today, you realize you have bills and a mortgage and you begin to want to eliminate your mortgage payments (future). So instead of being happy about your accomplishments, you are focused on making more money to pay off your mortgage (future) in a hurry.
As a result, your productivity falls off at work and you have lost the joy of living (future). When you understand that life is a process and living life day by day is better, you’ll reduce your stress and return to the (present) moment and begin to have fun again.
One of my most difficult past challenges was finding time for my family after work and on weekends. At the time, my relationship was on rocky ground.
I was in a stressful sales career and I was taking my work home. I was working nights and weekends.
I had no separation of work and home life. I had no idea how to slow down and take a break. I seemed to always be at work mentally.
A friend suggested I find a cassette tape with relaxing music of nature songs. I got a tape which was 45 minutes in length.
The tape gave me the following instructions:
After work, drive to a quiet place like a park. Park the car and listen to the cassette tape for 45 minutes.
After listening to the tape, I felt at one with nature and I was not even hungry.
So when I reached home, my wife at the time would tell me my dinner was ready, but I was so relaxed, I got my two children and took them out to the park to play.
This break allowed me to separate my work from home, putting all my stresses and frustrations behind me.
I was no longer wound up like a spring, uptight and restless.
And by taking this break, I was no longer overworking my body, and I had clarity of purpose. This resulted in my being able to fall asleep quickly at bed time.
The secret to slowing down was listening to the tape before going home. Most people have so many distractions though, they do not have the time to listen to such tapes.
So you need to make time for this shortcut to getting a good night’s sleep in record time to be effective.
9. Take a bath.
If you have a problem falling asleep quickly, consider soaking in the tub.
Taking a bath at night causes your body temperature to shift into a state where you feel totally relaxed and ready for bed.
When you get out of the warm tub and enter into the cooler bedroom, your body temperature will drop.
This is a signal to your body that it should rest, thus slowing down metabolic functions like breathing, digestion and heart rate.
The warm water also expands your blood vessels, permitting more oxygen and blood to flow into tense, strained muscles in your entire body.
This loosens up your muscle tension and washes away all your stress and frustration as your body becomes relaxed and comfortable.
This feeling is the message telling your brain it’s time to chill out and get ready for sleep.
My wife is a nurse and she loves this feeling. If she had a rough day, she comes home and takes a bath.
She uses Epsom salts with a lavender scent. The salt draws away the negatives from her body and the scent puts her in a beautiful restful state that runs into the next day.
10. Notice and acknowledge any distracting thoughts.
Stop and pay attention.
I was at a conference and I met two ladies who had difficulty sleeping. They were only getting two hours of sleep a night.
I quickly identified that they were unable to handle their thoughts. Their thoughts were ruining their health.
So I asked them to acknowledge their thoughts.
What do I mean by that?
When your thoughts come in, you generally want to push them away. However, when you embrace each thought (good or bad), the thought goes away. If you do not embrace your thoughts, it is like the kid pulling on the parent’s clothing in order to get attention.
Ignoring your thoughts creates a tsunami which keeps you awake all night.
Both ladies reported to me the next morning that they slept like babies for the first time in years.
Amazingly, they both slept for 8 hours instead of 2 hours. So they both slept better by 300%.
Make getting a good night’s sleep a habit
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t easy — it requires patience, skill and perseverance. Don’t make your life harder by continuing doing what you always did.
Don’t lock your dreams in a dungeon because lack of sleep has clouded your vision of infinite possibilities.
Choose to find the time to enjoy a good night’s rest.
So tonight I want you to – slow down. Listen. Notice what time your body wants to go to sleep.
Take a bath. Go to bed. Acknowledge any distracting thoughts.
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Put all worries of the day behind you.
Imagine what your life would be like a month from today as you are getting better sleep. Notice the feeling of having more time, being more productive and hearing the smiling voices of your family as you have more fun together.
Make it a habit.
Drift away. Dream. Be at peace.
|Written on 6/26/2013 by Cecil McIntosh. Cecil McIntosh, is the owner of relax and get rich. He offers actionable tips on how to make the money you want and get the rest you need at his website: blog.|
Photo Credit: MaryLane