Last Updated on May 2, 2017 by Cathy Jo Johnson
A lack of sleep can cause a litany of physical and mental issues, from a simple lack of focus to an inability to lose weight. For athletic people, sleep isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity. Restful sleep is essential in aiding our bodies in recovery and achieving optimal performance.
For some, sleep is a medical issue, this may be easy to dismiss but if you have tried everything and still struggle with sleep it’s best to seek professional guidance. For others, like me, you seem to be one of those people who lay awake in bed, tossing and turning trying to rest but you just have trouble shutting your brain off to sleep?
Just as everything else starts to change with age so does our sleep. It’s usual to see our sleep habits change beginning in our 40’s and getting worse in our 50’s and 60’s. According to a recent sleep study, 13% of men and 36% of women over 65 take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Here are some suggestions that may help you get rid of those distractions that keep you awake at night and help you learn to unwind, and get the sleep your body needs.
5 Tips to Shutting Your Brain Off and Sleeping like a Baby
Do not tackle anything new at least one hour before bed
When you open a new email, look at the bills, or start a new project just before you try to turn in you get your mind going and dwelling on that issue or project. This is especially problematic for creative people and those who seem to be naturally prone to worrying. So instead, make sure that you finish all business of the day at least one hour before bedtime; that leaves time for you to follow the next tip.
Establish a steady bedtime routine
As young children, our parents use routines to train our brain that it is time to sleep, but as adults, we seem to forget how useful this can be. By creating a system for yourself, your body, and brain, get into the habit of taking cues that it is time to sleep. Your iPhone even has a bedtime app which will remind you when it’s time to start preparing for bed so you can achieve your sleep goals.
Good suggestions for creating your routine can be shutting down your tv, taking a bath, reading something simple, such as a magazine or collection of short stories.
Other ways to help you unwind and prepare for better sleep is to use the time before bed to pamper yourself. How about a manicure, or soak your feet in a refreshing, vibrating foot bath to help you relax and shift your focus off of the day’s events, so you do not have so much trouble shutting your brain off to sleep.
Learning to meditate is a great way to focus your mind and relax your body. Meditating can help you in shutting your brain off, relieving the stress of the day helping you to relax. Mediation with visualization techniques can carry you away from all the hustle and bustle of the day.
There are a lot of apps and CD’s that can assist you in developing a guided meditation. Begin with small goals, meditating for just a few minutes can be a daunting task for a beginner. Over time you’ll build a foundation and once you enjoy the process then add extra time.
Aromatherapy is another great way to help you calm your mind and get some sleep. You can try candles, oil diffuser, aromatherapy or pillows. Night time sprays can be used to lightly mist your bed sheets with the great soothing scent of lavender and other essential oils. They’ve been used for centries to promote relaxation and help in shutting your brain off. My personal favorite is a nice hot herbal bubble bath.
Get rid environmental noise
Having the television or radio on is often a distraction from sleeping and can not only keep you awake but remind you of the issues that are the reasons that you are having trouble shutting your brain off to sleep in the first place. For noise that you can not eliminate, such as street noise, mask it with natural sounds of the ocean or similar types of soothing sounds that can help you sleep.
Don’t overlook other environmental issues that may be disrupting your sleep, like your mattress.
Is there something that you do that helps to shut your brain off when you’re ready for bed? Post it in the comment section below.
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