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I asked, “How do you ensure a good night’s sleep?”

A few weeks ago I asked you, my lovely readers, what tricks you used to ensure a good night’s sleep. Here are some of the answers I received:

1. Make a sleep schedule. I like this idea a lot. Why? Because by planning your sleep start time you are giving your mind time to calm and quiet itself over an extended period.

2. Paint your room a dark colour and make sure all the lights are OFF. This is a great way to ensure a swift transition into slumber. Anything that stimulates the senses (e.g. light, sound, movement) is going to keep you awake and/or arouse you out of Stage 1 sleep (and no one likes being woken up, regardless of the sleep stage).

3. Do yoga. Yoga encompasses movement, but it also includes elements of meditation. Thus, this activity can work to quiet and focus the mind which is a good thing to do before bedtime. I am sure many of you have lost precious sleep hours due to an overactive mind. Taking the time to focus your thoughts, regulate your breathing and relax the muscles is a great way to prepare for sleep.

4. Read. Reading is a fantastic way to work into slumber as it does not stimulate the visual or auditory senses like the TV or computer.

5. Meditate for 10 minutes – the results are extremely similar to those yielded from performing yoga.

6. Exercise. OK this one dumbfounds me every time as exercise stimulates your autonomic nervous system and gets cortisol, amongst many other chemicals, pumping through your body. Cortisol is the hormone largely responsible for your wake-up every morning. Thus, while I appreciate that exercise can tire you out (i.e. exercise performed at 4 or 5 PM), exercising immediately prior to bed will do exactly the opposite. But if it works, it works and who am I to say it doesn’t!

7. Be at peace with your day, your partner and yourself. This one wasn’t sent in, but it is a good rule to follow. Going to bed mad, sad, frustrated, anxious, or depressed is a sure fire way to have a BAD night’s sleep. Take time to unwind and if necessary, fix/remedy problems encountered during the day. Some things may not be an easy fix but writing the issue down, sending a quick email, talking with your partner or calling your mom are some good options to make things better, if only a little bit.

If other readers wish to share their tricks and tips I would be more than happy to do another post.

Happy sleeping.

M

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