Here are four things you can try to facilitate the, much desired, drift off to sleep.

emery counseling sleep tipsJust a few stats (because I’m a nerd like that;)

• 50 to 70 million people in the US suffer from one or several sleep disorders.
• 30% of the adult U.S. population suffer from Insomnia and 10% from chronic Insomnia.
• 75 to 90% of insomnia sufferers have an increased risk of medical disorders such as hypoxemia, GSD, and pain conditions.
• 3-5% of obesity in adults could be caused by lack of sleep.
• 35% of adults don’t get enough sleep (7 hours per day) according to the CDC.

Dang, people!  If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they are tired and/or are having trouble sleeping, I would be….. (you know the rest😉  It appears that a good night’s sleep is hard to come by for many people.  Personally, I have struggled with this in my past.  However, recently, I have put some of my knowledge and advice for others into practice for myself!

 

Here’s what I have done (and you can to!) to set the stage for a good night’s sleep; allowing me to awaken rested, alert and physically and cognitively ready to take on the day!!

1. Set an adult version of a bedtime routine. 

For me, this includes an evening shower, a reading interval, and a 10 min. progressive muscle relaxation.  Then, I just drift off to sleep.

(You could also consider things such as stretching, journaling, or an uninterrupted cup of herbal tea.)

The point of the routine is to give your body, and mind, an opportunity to wind down.  Additionally, using routine creates associations in your brain that indicate “it’s time for sleep!”

2. Practice shutting down your mind so that you can rest, using a visualized container.

Here’s how: Close your eyes and visualize a container, any container. Then visualize the to- do’s and/or worry’s that your mind is currently focusing on.  Next, visualize putting them into the container. (Don’t worry, you are not ignoring them.  You are just putting them away, for the night, so that you can allow your mind to rest and sleep.  (Note: Unless you are going to get out of bed, to take care of these items right now, they are just distracting you from sleep.)

3. Move your phone to another room.

I know you think you can’t do it, but you CAN do it!

You could charge it in the adjacent bathroom.  You could charge it (a least) across the room from where you are sleeping.  You could turn the alarm up so you can still hear it.  The barriers that you think make this one impossible are actually just habits. 

71% of people sleep holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand.  Although most of the studies in this area have used small samples, they have consistently shown that people report a better night’s sleep when forced to sleep without their phone in the room.

4. Consider trying a progressive muscle relaxation.

One of the major benefits of this type of exercise is that it moves you out of your head. (You know, that head with the ongoing thoughts that won’t let you fall asleep?)  I prefer to listen to someone guiding me, but you do not have to do so.  

Here, I will include a progressive muscle relaxation that you could record yourself saying; leaving a short pause after each item.  You could also just move through your body, head to toe, intentionally focusing on and relaxing each area as you go.  (Additionally, there are many online options to listen to for this type of exercise.)

Progressive Relaxation:

❖ Lie on your back, close your eyes.
❖ Feel your feet. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed. Start with your toes and progress to your ankles.
❖ Feel your knees. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your upper legs and thighs. Feel their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your abdomen and chest. Sense your breathing. Consciously will them to relax. Deepen your breathing slightly and feel your abdomen and chest sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your buttocks. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your hands. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your upper arms. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your shoulders. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your neck. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your head and skull. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your mouth and jaw. Consciously relax them. Pay particular attention to your jaw muscles and unclench them if you need to. Feel your mouth and jaw relax and sink into the bed.
❖ Feel your eyes. Sense if there is tension in your eyes. Sense if you are forcibly closing your eyelids. Consciously relax your eyelids and feel the tension slide off the eyes.
❖ Feel your face and cheeks. Consciously relax them and feel the tension slide off into the bed.
❖ Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that is still tense, then consciously relax that place and let it sink into the bed.

Remember, there are so many physical and mental health benefits to a good night’s sleep that it might beworth making a small effort to increase the chances you get your rest.

Interested in talking with Bree Emery? Visit our website to book a session.