Quality sleep tips
Insomnia is a very common problem nowadays. Over the years I’ve had my own marathon with sleeping well, then in some periods I was struggling to have proper sleep. So, inspired by my own occasional insomnia problems as well as my mom and sister’s battles with overnight sleep, I have decided to write this post.
Here are some advices based on my own experience that are working for falling asleep faster and having a good sleep:
It might not be obvious but what you eat, especially few hours before bed time, greatly influences sleep quality. Some foods are favorable of sleep while others should not be consumed even in the early afternoon.
Good for sleep food:
- Green lettuce
Against sleep food:
- Anything with caffeine (coffee, Coca Cola, green tea, energy drinks)
- Salty food
- Anything with vitamin C
The stomach shouldn’t be too full or empty. Eating something light two-three hours before bedtime is optimal.
I am not much of a workout person but I try to exercise as often as possible. It doesn’t have to be a hard-physical exhaustion like two hours in the gym or half hour of running (although this would greatly help). Even half hour of brisk walking can do a lot of difference for sleep. Any body moving, especially in the fresh air and in the nature, can benefit sleep.
Now we are coming to the most important aspect of healthy sleeping.
Going through problems while you are supposed to be resting and falling asleep will surely keep you awake. But the question is how can we put the problems aside? It looks like we can’t help ourselves and problems keep popping up without our own will.
My conclusion is that few factors are important here:
- Our own decision to put problems away and leave them for tomorrow
When you lie in bed, first thing you need to do is give yourself a mental note “Whatever problems I have, I will think about them tomorrow. I can’t solve them right now so no point in going over it before bed time”.
Mindfulness means being present and observing situation without force. Concentrating on the in and out breath is a good method to calm down. When thoughts come, again repeat to yourself the sentence to leave the problems for tomorrow.
Acceptance is another aspect of good sleep. If you analize why you have a problem of falling asleep, it is most likely some issue you can’t overcome and let go. The “problem” keeps you alert and if the situation is tough, you will probably have physical sensations such as rapid heart beat and agitation. Again, all these are created because of processing some problem. But think about it, can you really do anything about this “problem” with thinking about it right before bed time? I would say accepting the problem that is currently present will take off most of the negative emotions that is created around the problem. The problem is what it is, but our reaction to it is making us agitated and angry which then keeps us from falling asleep. Accepting the problem doesn’t mean that you will give in to the situation and that’s it. It means that you accept the fact that it happened so that you let go all of the unnecessary emotions which come with the problem. All the commotion around the problem make it much harder than it is.
So, acknowledging the problem means you make peace with what is happening at the moment (you can’t run away from it so no point fighting it). Acceptance will release all the excessive negative emotions. Then make a firm decision to find the solution tomorrow (problem will be solved no matter when you take it in your hands and deal with it, so no point to ruin the sleep over it when you can think about it tomorrow). And third, do mindful breathing to divert the attention from your problem and calm down.
Basically, these are the things that help me sleep well. Right mindset for sleep is the most important because letting your thoughts running wild will surely keep you awake.
Here is my guided meditation for quality sleep.