Caravan Sonnet: Thursday Health Thoughts: Better Sleep General Ideas

1/31/13

Thursday Health Thoughts: Better Sleep General Ideas

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As I mentioned in my post last Thursday , I wanted to share some tips and thoughts on getting better sleep that I have learned and am still learning that may help you or someone you know. Last week I gave some thoughts about mattress ideas and today I just wanted to suggest some general sleep ideas that may be helpful in the journey with chronic illness and pain. Here are 16 general tips (in no particular order) that I personally do or have heard some other people do! 

(1) Dark Cave: For me light can be a distraction so I need to have a room that is dark with no lights when I am trying to sleep. Unfortunately our neighbors love to leave on their BIG spotlights that illuminate our yard. *smiles* For this reason I have several HEAVY {lined} curtains that I have over the shades in the windows in my room. 

(2) Eye Covers: As the picture to the left shows I love me some eye covers (the picture one the left was taken on a road trip)! I tried several before I found one that I love. I did try some expensive ones ($8- $10 dollars) before I found my favorite for $4 at Target. *happy smiles* If you don't have one I would definitely recommend trying one!

(3) Soft Sheets: I know I talked about Mattress ideas last week but I have found sheets and blankets that are good are also very important. After months and months of reading the pros and cons of different sheets I chose to purchase organic sheets from Target and love them! (You can find them here: Target Sheets ) While I would have liked a higher thread count these were in the budget. *smiles* 

(4) Disconnect: I choose to turn off all media (Internet, TV, phone, etc.) at least an hour before I head to bed and I leave it outside of my bedroom. There are the occasions where a situation arises that this does not work out but for me that time before bed is a chance to "disconnect" from the rest of the world and really "reconnect" with my precious Lord. I enjoy journaling, reading and praying at night. This time before bed is a truly precious time of slowing down and reflecting on the day. 

(5) Close By: I keep several "necessities" on my nightstand beside my bed. These necessities include a bottle of water, different medications that I might need, tissues, a good book or magazine and a flashlight. If I can't fall asleep right away or I need something I don't want to get out of bed to go get it. This allows my body to stay truly at rest. 

(6) Heating Pad: I have a heating pad that I really like that I keep stored in the nightstand next to me. On the nights where my muscles are really tight I just have to lean over, grab the heating pad and it is right there. I have found that heat is a true relaxer. 

(7) Relaxing Soak: It is with rare exception that I am not taking a detox bath twice a day but I always take a detox bath about two hours before I go to bed for about 20-30 minutes. Not only is this a great detoxifier but it is also wonderfully relaxing. You can find a variety of different bath salts or soap to help with a variety of different needs. SO relaxing!

(8) Pillows: Pillows for me are a true key to good sleep which probably explains why I literally have 7 on my bed. My best advice is to hunt and search for pillows that are good for you and that invest in them. Definitely worth it! 

(9)  PJ's: Every Christmas my sis and I give matching PJ's (as shown above *smiles*) and that has installed in me a love of comfy pajamas. Comfy clothes are a great source of relaxation.

(10) Fans: One of the best decisions I made in college was to sleep with fans! To this day I now have a very difficult time sleeping if I do not have the "white noise" from a fan in the room. [hahaha- my former students can attest that I brought these fans on overnight field trips and senior trips! *smiles*]It is hard to find ones that have a good sound but I highly urge you to invest the time to find a good quality fan! {Some people use other types of white noise that I hear works well too! I urge you to find something that is a consistent noise so it can help you sleep better!}

(11) Sleeping Aides: I know that some people are under the care of a physician for sleep medications but for me this was not something that I chose to do. I believe in meds, but have found that natural and herbal alternatives work very well for me. I spoke at great length with my doctors and have come up with a couple of herbal remedies that help me sleep great. If you struggle with insomnia I would encourage you to talk with your physician! 

(12) Temperatures: Room temperatures can truly alter a good night sleep! Find what works best for you! 

(13) Set the Mood: In the early evening I go into my bedroom and turn on just a small lamp by my bed. When I am ready to go to bed I enter a room that is already set apart and different then the bright lights of where I was. Yes, it does sound silly but everyone who has tried it loves it. *smiles* 

(14) Candles: Similar to #13 I have heard that some people light candles in the early evening in their bedroom. This sounds wonderful and I have to try it! 

(15) Say goodbye to work at the door: I admit that I struggled with this one while I was teaching. I would often bring "just one more essay" into my room to finish before I fell asleep. I still sometimes have cheated and brought my graduate work in. When I finally stopped doing this (as in about a month ago *smiles*) and made my room truly a sanctuary I started off my sleep time more relaxed and saw my bedroom as a place for peace.

(16) Avoid: Ok, this one might sound silly but I was guilty of it for the longest time (hello snack machine during late night college days!), but don't eat or drink right before you go to bed. For me I have learned that I sleep better when I put a couple of hours in between eating and sleeping. 

These steps have truly given me the opportunity to rest and sleep better. I would love to know- what kind of things do you do to rest better? What types of adjustments have you made to sleep better? 

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