Have You Tried Counting Sheep?
By Janice Sioui
Director of Wellness
We’ve all been there; tossing and turning, desperately trying to fall asleep or get back to sleep while brewing or stewing about something we can’t change. So what have you tried? My husband swears by his pillow, my daughter her fan…are there regular behaviors you can adopt to get the most out of your zzzs?
Sleep eludes so many of us; no matter our age, occupation, or gender. When we’re younger, we are told to count sheep, but what do when we’re older? Stress is the biggest culprit, and we feed it. With our attraction to screens–social media, gaming, texts and tweets, our body doesn’t know when to stop, until we tell it to. Not good at that? Here’s a few tips to try rewiring your brain:
- Go to bed when you first feel tired, not when your show is over. Find your window.
- Put your phone on the charger in another room and no screen time 30-60 minutes before bed.
- Watch the spicy, fatty foods before bed and cut the stimulants after noon.
- Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep; dark, cool and quiet.
- Maintain hydration. Chronic dehydration is disruptive to your body’s natural rhythms.
- Try getting into a habit of stretching out at night to bring less stress to bed.
- Reduce anxiety by journaling to close out the day w/gratitude, mindfully meditating, or writing out tomorrow list to get it off your mind.
- Practice self-awareness around why you might be struggling and keep a log to see what is working.
Sleep deprivation is linked to a myriad of issues, including cloudy thinking and reasoning, weakened immune system, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It will also affect your level of cranky–people who don’t sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety.
Our clients find the most life-changing new strategy to improve sleep is in mindfulness; what part of your body is physically tense, what are your dreams about, where are the biggest stresses in your life. Find a partner to support your efforts. Much like exercise, paying attention to sleep and talking through what works will add more to your bottom line than money ever could.