Women, life, happiness
  • “I have such a hard time sleeping. I’m exhausted.”

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    July 30th, 2010Keryl PesceHealthy Living, Life in general

    We can't have that now, can we? How can you be a happy bitch without your beauty sleep? Let's get our snooze on.

    First, let's address the problem. Why is it so difficult for this woman to sleep well? For that matter, why do millions of people have difficulty sleeping? Helping people catch more Z's is a multi-million dollar industry. Perhaps even billions. Between the latest and greatest pillow-top mattress adorned with 350 thread count sheets to over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, a whole lot of people are making piles of money on our inability to sleep.

    Do we need to spend more money or poison our bodies with medication heavily laden with serious side affects just to get a good night's sleep? I'm no doctor, and while I don't doubt there are medical conditions that affect our ability to sleep, I'd bet an evening in a hot tub with Bradley Cooper (or Angelina Jolie depending on your preference) that nine times out of ten, we don't need to pop a pill or spend a half a month's salary on a new mattress. Au contraire, my pretty. It's a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) than that.

    We just need to shut the hell up. Huh?

    You see, we women have a reputation for the gift of gab. Often times, rightly so. No big deal. But I'll tell you where it becomes a problem for us. In our heads. No, we're not crazy. What I mean is the internal dialogue that's incessantly running inside our minds. It's those conversations which affect everything -  our emotions, our actions, our decisions and yes, our precious sleep. Am I right?

    You climb into bed, exhausted after utilizing every available second of your day to accomplish tasks and take care of everyone around you and there you lay. Wide awake. Reliving the day in your mind, planning out the next day (or more likely worrying about the next day) and attempting to solve your life's challenges in your head as you try to fall asleep. Oh, and God forbid you fall asleep quickly but something wakes up up during the night – a car horn, a child calling you, or your body just being too damn hot. Your brain is off to the races again.

    What's a girl to do?

    Well, you can keep doing what you have been doing, which obviously isn't working. Or, you can try something new. What might that be? Here's what works for me.

    1 – Place a higher priority on sleep. Too many of us don't allow ourselves to go to bed until every demand has been tended to. Why is that a problem? You're running on overdrive. Number one, you are too wound up until too close to bed time. Number two, you've pushed off crawling into bed so late, now you NEED to fall asleep quickly. Then what? You'll try too hard. It ain't happening. Bottom line, we need our sleep. It rejuvenates and regenerates our bodies and our minds. Choose to allow some tasks to wait another day if necessary and make your sleep a bigger priority.

    2 – Don't engage in activities that require a lot of thought and energy within an hour of your bed time. Give yourself unwind time. Take a bath. Read a trashy novel. Flip through a fashion magazine.

    3 – Make a list of unfinished tasks so they get out of your head and on a piece of paper. They will serve you much better there.

    4 – I know you've head this a hundred times. So what. You probably still don't do it. Keep a pad and paper by your bedside. Sometimes the thoughts that keep us awake are good ones. We come up with creative ideas. That's terrific, but not so much if it keeps us from sleeping. Write your ideas down and go back to sleep.

    5 – Keep your thoughts on the present moment. As you catch yourself reliving the day or worrying about the week ahead, bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Take note of how the sheets feel against your skin, how soft your pillow feels. Imagine yourself relaxing every muscle, one by one. Focus on your breathing.

    6 – Stop trying so hard to fall asleep. Have you ever noticed that when you are tired and trying to stay awake, you fall asleep? Then when you are trying to fall asleep, you stay awake? Try something different. As you lay in bed, try to stay awake for 10 minutes. You'll be surprised at what happens.

    7 - Now for my favorite. The most sleep-deprivating thoughts are worry thoughts. We dwell on what's wrong in our lives and even imagine all the possible misfortunes that might befall us. Flip it around. Do the opposite. Use the power of your imagination to create your perfect life. What goals do you want to accomplish? If your life were perfect in every way, what would it look like? What would you be doing? Take yourself there. Be a kid again and imagine. Ignore limitations. In your mind, anything is possible, so have fun with it. You will fall asleep faster because your mind and body are relaxed and you are in a happy place. You will dream better dreams, wake up more rested and refreshed. I've said it before. You will begin to reprogram your subconscious mind to manifest that which you imagine. You will begin to see bits and pieces of what you wish for actually come true.

    Try one or try them all. See what works for you, but whatever you do, don't try too hard. Let sleep come to you and it will. Sleep tight and sweet dreams.

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