Unfortunately, we often carry our worries and concerns to the bed with us, and the result can be less-than-rejuvenating sleep and, even worse, waking up in the night and feeling unable to get back to sleep. Either of these scenarios, of course, doesn’t bode well for our next day’s energy and focus level.
What to do?
First, of course, is to review our many postings about sleep hygiene. Chamomile tea, lavender oil, melatonin and other substances can help us relax and get on track for a more peaceful sleep, but often we have to learn to control our thoughts and emotions — or at least exercise them so they don’t have such a profound negative effect on our sleep.
Beyond good sleep hygiene, which is essential, you can use relaxation techniques, which will help put both your body and your mind in a better readiness mode for a good night’s rest.
Deep breathing is a good starter. Close your eyes and start taking deep breaths, increasing the depth as you go along, with each successive breath longer than the previous one.
Progressive muscle relaxation is another wonderful technique. Start by tensing up your toes and feet as much as you can, and then proceed to relax them. Progress with this tensing-relaxing muscle technique throughout the rest of your body until you’ve finished with your head.
Visualization is another technique that has been used successfully by millions. In your mind, visualize a time and place when and where you enjoyed complete relaxation and sleep rejuvenation, and then try to recreate it in your current state. This is a more focused version of “counting sheep.”
The starting point if you feel stress and worry, however, is to learn to handle your thoughts better so that you don’t carry them over to your bed. You may want to study stress management techniques, even practice yoga, or get out and exercise more to exorcise the mental demons from your life.
Whatever it takes is the challenge you personally face, but you must confront it and overcome it. If you need professional help, it’s out there and can save you from many weeks, months and even years of disrupted sleep. Never hesitate to seek help.