Got Sleep?

Am I getting enough sleep?

Getting enough sleep is key to weight loss, keeping stress in check, and generally managing your mood. Lately, I have been busy, stressed, and not sleeping well at all. I spent a few weeks waking up each night in a cold sweat – from crazy dreams, from racing thoughts, and from recurring nightmares (like having to take a calculus test after having thought I dropped the class). All of which made for a lot of restless nights and not waking up feeling refreshed.

I had also sunk back into a pattern of staying up until 12 or 1 am just to get a few more things done. Staying up this late is the first sure sign that I have taken on too much… or that all my deadlines are bunched up again. It turned out to be a little bit of both.

These disruptions have made me a very tired person. It means during the day, I am not at my best. This can be wearing and makes me irritable! (Which I am sure my kids can attest to!)

To reset my sleep pattern and break the restless sleep cycle, I went back to basics with a few things. First, I set my Fitbit alarm for 10 pm to remind me to stop what I am doing and to go to sleep. While I don’t make it to bed at 10 pm exactly, it has made me cognizant of what I am doing at that hour and I have been able to curb time wasters (like Facebook or Pinterest) and get to bed earlier.

I also set my FItbit alarm for 6 am to wake me up at the same time every day. Some days I go back to sleep and then when I do finally get out of bed (at 7 or 7:30) I feel like I’m off kilter all day long. Fundamentally, keeping the same hours of waking and going to sleep train your body to know when it is time to relax and go to sleep.

The other thing I have done is to reincorporate several relaxation techniques into my bedtime routine. My favorites are 1) counting backwards from 200 (these days I rarely get past 170 before falling asleep); 2) Breath in to a count of 7, hold for 4 counts and breathe out to a count of 8. I don’t know why this works but it does. I rarely get past three rounds of this breathing method; and 3) I tense and relax body parts starting with my toes and moving up to the head. All of these methods seem to work for me. The absolute last resort for me is to put in earplugs and wear an eye mask. That definitely works but makes my ears sore.

All of these things have helped me get my sleep pattern back on track and although I don’t feel 100% well-rested, I can say that things are better and I am sleeping more.

What have you found that works for getting enough sleep?

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