As a young adult, I’ve never leaned over to a friend and said, “oh man, I can’t fall asleep at night, or sleep well. What do you do to unwind?” But as I’ve worked my way into a the life of adults in white collar careers, it seems to be the thing to talk about. Whether or not you can sleep in, how you “turn off your brain” once you’re home, and just how many cups of coffee you need over a bad night’s sleep.
I started having sleeping issues when work stress ran high, so I experimented with suggestions from friends and from favorite search engines. Here are the top five that worked for me so far in 2013:
1. Yoga at Night
Hands-down this works and it works well. The yoga stretches out kinks from working at a desk and it calms my mind from my ever present to-do list checking. I found Yogamazing’s Yoga Before Bed and have been doing that routine for a few weeks straight now. All of the poses are simple, and can even be done while you’re on the bed. Definitely check it out, no matter your physical activity or energy levels.
2. Play Hard
Not only does exercise improve your mood and reduces your anxiety before hitting the pillow, it also can just plain old wear you out. Having your body match your mental fatigue can be the trick to falling asleep fast.
3. Visit a Chiropractor
Even mild pain can keep you from sleeping well. When a hip bone or a vertebrae is out of place, it can cause extra strain on your muscles and create sensitive pressure points.
A good indicator of misalignment is how much you move around at night. If you toss and turn more than a boat on the high seas, there’s a good chance there is something awry. The first few nights after my chiro visit I can sleep on my back the whole night through, and will rarely shift from that position. If it’s been a while, it’s a whirlwind of tossing and turning and fitful sleep.
4. Stop Eating Late
Snacking in the evening every once in a while is OK, but do not with any frequency. Give your body time to digest and use the energy you provided. Late night snacking can add to gastro-reflux problems. Don’t let a sour stomach keep you up late or a let acid eat away at your throat while you sleep.
I am a light sleeper, but melatonin can put me out into a sleep even during the nosiest parties my roommate can throw. I prefer taking melatonin on the weekend, when it can help me extend my sleep pattern past 6:30 am well into 9 or 10 in the morning. However, the medication is light enough that it doesn’t interfere with my schedule if I need to get up early.
I hope some of these suggestions work for you. For now I’m sticking to the yoga routine, as it is a guaranteed free, simple, and easy way to prepare for bed.
What do you to to get a good night’s sleep?