From the category archives:

sleep

Can’t Sleep? Learn to unwind

by Ed

This is my second in my Sunday series on sleep. Again, I’d like to ask for feedback from my readers. Why do you think you can’t sleep? What helps you sleep?

For me, the most frequent cause of insomnia is being wound up. My brain is a busy one, and if I let be too active in the evening, it takes a while to wind down and get sleepy. That also includes watching tv in the evening, especially suspenseful or thought provoking shows. The best thing is to find something to do to unwind, starting about two hours before bed time.

If you have any sort of spiritual practice, that is probably one of the best things to do before bed. Prayer, meditation, scriptural study, etc. Just be careful that the studying is not to stimulating. I find when I do my spiritual practice in the evening, not only do I sleep better, but I feel like a better human being the next day. I’m more tolerant, compassionate, and at ease. You could also enjoy inspirational  books, audios, or videos.

Some people love a hot bath before bed. Try adding a little lavender essential oil to the water. It is very soothing.

If you do not live alone, you could take a beginner’s class in massage or acupressure, and trade giving each other massages in the evening. A gentle, relaxing style of hatha yoga is a nice way to prepare for sleep. A guided relaxation or self hypnosis CD is great too, though sometimes it puts me to sleep earlier than I want to. It’s best to save that for last. I have made two CDs, so far, that work for helping with sleep. If you are interested in them, let me know, and I can tell you more about them.

Sweet Dreams.

Siesta Time

by Ed

As I was researching side effects of insomnia for my Sunday sleep series, I found this article in Tuesday’s edition of the International Herald Tribune.

They found that Greeks who took regular 30-minute siestas were 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease over a six-year period than those who never napped. So, I guess the Mediterranean cultures had it right all along. We in North America are to consumed with doing. We never stop until the day is done. So, this afternoon, tell your boss that you need your nap, otherwise next week, he might be calling an ambulance for you.

In so many ways, in our culture, we overstress ourselves. Let’s take back our lives and enjoy them for a few years. Have a nap, at least on the weekend.

Are You Sleeping?

by Ed

Insomnia is one of our society’s epidemics. In order to make money from insomniacs, people are advertising beds, drugs and herbs. Do they work? Why are so many people having trouble sleeping? I’d like to hear from people who have a hard time sleeping. Why do you think you can’t sleep? What helps you sleep?

Over the next few Sundays, I will be posting about insomnia and it’s causes, natural sleep aids, the problems with sleep medications and why I don’t recommend them, and anything else I cant think of about sleep and insomnia.

There are several factors about our modern lifestyle that I believe contribute to our problems with getting enough sleep. First is lack of exercise. Until about one hundred years ago, we kept very active all day long. Our bodies were tired by the bed time. Also, all that activity kept our systems clean of adrenaline and other wakeful chemicals. Every day, something makes you anxious, or you get a surprise, or someone almost cuts you off while you are driving. Every time something like that happens, your body gets flooded with fight or flight chemicals. If you don’t start fighting or running or something, those chemicals build up in your body, keeping you from sleeping. Ironically, they also tire you out, so you are exhausted and you can’t sleep. Even if nothing happens to you, yo watch tv. Most popular tv shows these days are good adrenaline boosters. Another thing is that the brain does not seem to act like muscles. You use a muscle and it gets tired. When you use your brain, it may get tired, but it also gets wound up. It needs an opportunity to wind down.

So my 2 big tips are get more exercise and learn to unwind in healthy ways. I’ll go into more detail next Sunday.