Toddlers seem to hate to sleep. They’re up at the crack of dawn, running around the house as if they’ve downed 10 cups of java. Then, despite their parents’ deep desire that they take a nap, they fight it at every turn. Why? Is sleep really that painful? A lot of parents would love to curl up under the covers right after lunch, getting at least 30 minutes of rest. While the little ones are just too excited to miss a moment of life, adults are striving to get as much of a break as possible. Sometimes, though, despite the best of intentions, it just can’t happen. The eyes close, but the mind won’t shut down, leaving you with a sleepless, restless night. When this happens often, it could leave people anxious, frustrated and depressed. Fight this effect by trying these four tips to reclaim shut eye.
1. Work Out
When the body hasn’t used up enough energy, it’s hard to shut down properly. To improve your sleep cycle, try increasing your daily exercise by 30 minutes, building up cardio. By doing this, you’ll burn off some of that excess excitement, wearing yourself down and preparing to hit the sheets. Just try to avoid it right before you close up shop for the day as this has the opposite effect, energizing instead of soothing.
Worry can prevent your brain from stopping, leaving you with running trains of thought. Your head is on the pillow, but your mind is off in anxiety land, revisiting everything you did during the day. Could you have done better with leading the meeting? Why did you make a certain comment? Are you really done with that project that’s been on your desk? Cut out these thoughts by taking 15 to 30 minutes to relax and meditate. This could be done through reading, listening to an audio or trying yoga. Focus on releasing the tension.
Sometimes medical conditions and medications can create sleep loss. If this is the case, speak with your doctor about appropriate steps. You’ll need to discuss any changes in your patterns, and, if you haven’t completed blood work recently, be prepared to do so. Chances are your physician will want to rule out underlying conditions. Dementia, for example, is often a cause of troublesome sleep patterns. When this happens, a specialist may prescribe a sleep aid for Alzheimer patients, allowing them to have calm during the night.
Stimulation is harmful to your night patterns. In fact, television, particularly binge-watching a show, can trigger excitement, preventing the brainwaves from slowing down. Instead, they speed up, keeping you wide alert. Put down the electronics at least an hour before you head to bed. Instead, pick up a book that interests you. They don’t trigger the same response, but they can inform and entertain. You’ll have some enjoyment while allowing your body to prepare for a healthy rest.
You deserve some good shuteye. Evaluate your usual routine, and then try to make some of the following changes. Maybe the sandman will visit you then.