Just as stress is created when we don’t get food predictably (dieting), and then we binge as a result of the fear of real or perceived restriction – so can chaotic and unpredictable sleep create anxiety and stress about sleep, thus disrupting the process.
Not only is it incredibly frustrating to not be able to get a good night’s sleep, but sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain and a whole host of other health consequences.
In our class “Making Sleep Work for You,” we discuss ways in enhance sleep by creating a night-time ritual. Let’s think back to how we help babies learn to sleep on their own by introducing a routine. How can you do the same?
- Try to create a regular bedtime
- Cocoon in a snuggly bed with comfy sheets and blankets (600 count cotton)
- Invest in some jammies that fit well and feel good to touch
- Consider soft music or a story (reading children’s books has worked for some)
You get the idea. Think about what would help you relax into sleep. Often, it is no more complicated than getting to bed a little earlier, so you aren’t hit by a second wind and just keep staying up.
In Jane Brody’s NY Times article Steps for More, and Better, Sleep she suggests some other strategies which you might find helpful (beyond the usual tips to avoid caffeine or alcohol).
- If leg cramps wake you up, drink about eight ounces of tonic water (diet version) every day. Tonic water contains modest amounts of quinine, which used to be sold over-the-counter to reduce leg cramps.
- A nightly supplement of melatonin, which the body naturally produces after dark to help you fall asleep quickly, and return to sleep easily if awakened.
Photo by Moyan Brenn