September 6, 2011

Chill Out, Bro -- How To Calm Your Mind and Get Some Sleep, Naturally.

Being a student and having a job, I always have something on my mind. I'm either thinking about how to fit in a workout, what to take for lunch, when to do my homework, or who I'm forgetting to call back. I like being busy, so during the day I don't mind all these thoughts running through my head like mad men on a race.

I do not appreciate these thoughts when I want to go to sleep, however. As I've gotten older, I've come to cherish my sleep like a long lost lover that I can't wait to get back to. The warm covers of my bed beckon at me in the early evening, and I feel the most phenomenal wave of release when I can rest my head and drift off to LaLa Land. 

While I admire people that can stay up all night and be ready in the morning with a spring in their step, I cannot. I need my sleep in order to function. The nights that I can get at least 8 hours of sleep result in much more productivity, energy, and overall happiness and agree-ability the next day. By far. I notice it. My family notices it. My coworkers notice it. I need sleep, period.

So, over the years I've come across some tricks that help me ease my mind and allow me to fall asleep. If you are a serious insomniac, call a doctor. If you just need a little help letting go of counting how many calories you burned or remembering if you locked your car, I can help.

1. Warm, Decaffeinated Beverages - While a nice hot cup of coffee can really wake you up in the morning, a piping cup of SleepyTime Tea (or any other herbal chamomile tea) will do wonders to slow your brain activity and get your body ready for relaxation. Avoid adding sugar which will have the opposite effect. Sip slowly. Doze off. Enjoy.

2. Books - One of my favorite ways to forget all the things that are stressing me out is to immerse myself in stories. I find that reading works best, but movies work too. This method is like an escape. All of a sudden you are so caught up in other people's drama, you forget about your own. Or you see someone else's problems and all of a sudden your project due at the end of the week doesn't seem so bad.

3. Writing - Try writing about something besides what is keeping you up. I find that trying to remember a good memory and write it down in excruciating detail is a good way of tiring your brain while also giving you a memoir of some great times. I've had the same journal since 7th grade, and I love looking back at the stories and reading how excited I was to turn 13 or how I wondered for 4 years what my senior prom would be like. 

4. Yoga - Doing some easy yoga moves is a good way to calm your body and your mind. Stay away from fast movements that will make you hyper, though. Anything where your hips are higher than your head is good for circulation and relaxation. I recommend a few moments in:
Downward Dog - hands and feet on floor, butt in the air, back straight, weight on feet
Shoulder Stand - back on the ground, legs up in the air, hands on lower back
Bridge Pose- souls of feet on floor, pelvis up, hands either to the side, on lower back, or behind the head

Downward Dog
Bridge Option 1
Shoulder Stand
Bridge Option 2

* I do not own any of these images

Hope this helps. I know that there's nothing worse than staring at the ceiling and trying with all your strength to just fall asleep. It's just like falling in love, really - you can't force it, the harder you try the less likely it is to happen, and when it finally does happen it feels SO good.

You need sleep and you deserve sleep, and if you are anything like me, everyone around you will appreciate you trying out some of these tips. :)

1 comment:

  1. I have major problems sleeping, it takes me forever to fall asleep! I am going to try your tips hopefully I will get a goodnight sleep!!
    Nice blog, I am following