We keep seeing more and more folks talking about problems with sleep. So much is going on in the world, it’s keeping people up at night. This week, we wanted to address that, bring some calming thoughts and ideas on how to find rest — real, honest slumber — in the midst of chaos.
Three very simple tips to mellow you out, relax your senses and allow you to just drift away.
Turn it off
Having a lot of time on your hands means you look for ways to occupy it. Where once we might read, go to the park, and do crafts, more often than not in the world of today that leads us to media — television, social media, phones, tablets, we could go on. And while, yes, we’ve talked about the need to turn off your “blue light” media to help you rest better, the diet we’re recommending is more about the content of what you watch, read and follow: The immersion of current events.
There is so much information coming at us a mile a minute. It’s not anything new. Even as a kid back in the day, the news would freak me out and I would need to stop, read a book, listen to some music to calm me down. I did a lot of burning candles and incense too, but we’ll get to that. And that’s when there were only 3 major networks, PBS and, ya know, weird local stations.
Now, you can find anything on any topic at any time of the day or night. Current events these days aren’t the best of news and there’s a tendency to get caught up in the chaos, let it overwhelm you and send you into a panic. The worry fills us and it makes our brains work overtime so that we’re unable to get the dreamy, REM sleep our bodies and minds must have to legit survive.
And it’s not just the “what’s going on in the world?” bits that set us off. It’s the different posts on people’s social media pages, cat videos, documentaries about tigers in illegal zoos, food competitions, and on and on. These things stay with us, keep us up at night, and bring us to our mental knees.
Stop the madness. Turn it all off for the night. Really. Light a candle (told you we’d get there), do a little incense, crank up your air conditioning or your fan so it cools you in the summer heat, lay back, close your eyes, and just drift away.
Let it in
Whether it’s warm milk, a cup of soothing chamomile tea, or meditating to release your mind from the stresses of the day, taking in those things that naturally relax you enhances your slumber. While that blue light of media can be a bummer on your sleepy state, natural light rejuvenates as well as balances your body. It supports your internal clock, making it possible for you to keep on your inherent snooze schedule for true, restorative sleep.
Take walks during the day, open a window to get some fresh air, create a mantra to recite while sitting at your desk to slow your breathing and lower your stress. Those things that soothe your senses — relaxing scents, calming colors and designs, comforting textures and sounds — are appealing additions to our sleep repertoire.
Much of what we consider when releasing our brain from the craziness of the day is focused on what we need to get rid of. However, it’s just as important for us to embrace what we can bring into our lives to lull us. “Input” is not the enemy. It’s the what and how of it we need to watch, and since we are organic beings, anything that connects us to nature and triggers our innate ability to unwind is welcome.
You’ve had a long day and just need to chill out before bedtime. Ah, a nice hot shower or a warm bath sounds good. It’ll release tension, make you feel all nice and toasty as you slide under the covers and… zzzzzz. You may think the reason that this works for you is that warm, fuzzy feeling, right? Yes.
As you know, keeping your room cool helps you sleep. That’s because our core body temperatures lower naturally at night — all part of that glorious circadian rhythm thing — to allow for a better doze. The best way to speed that along is to get your extremities to pull that heat out of you. What’s happening to your body when you take a bath or shower an hour or so before bedtime is you’re helping that process along by bringing all of the blood to the surface of your skin — ooh, that rosy glow — thereby, you guessed it, drawing the heat out of your core. Setting yourself up for a comfy, cozy night-time slumber.
Imagine. All the time you’ve spent “chilling out” with a hot tub or shower was really true.
All it takes…
Is just a few moments to take your mind down a notch to get the restorative sleep your body needs and — let’s be honest — you deserve. Take the time to give yourself the benefit of calm, the opportunity to let go of the strains and stresses of the now. Because at the end of the day?
A new one is right behind it.