DeAnna Dimmitt Mind Body Fitness

Holistic Personal Training

Sleep, The Wonder Drug Part 4: Tips For Getting MORE (and better) Sleep!

| 8 Comments

In Part 3 we discussed the effects of sleep on athletic performance.   Here, in Part 4, we will discuss some tips for getting more (and better) sleep!

Getting enough sleep is a lifestyle choice.

It’s the decision to live in balance.

It’s deciding who and what is in control of your time.

Yes, it can be challenging.

If you’re not currently getting enough sleep, it could mean making some different choices and setting some different boundaries.

For instance:

Deciding that you will no longer continue to mindlessly surf the interwebs and play games on your phone into the wee hours of the morning, several hours after you have quit being productive.

Or maybe:

Deciding that you will not continue to answer emails and text messages in the middle of the night. Not even if they’re from your boss. Not even if they’re from your clients.

And especially:

Coming to the realization that sleep is more than just a luxury of the lazy.  It is the behind-the-scenes organization that makes your daytime show possible.

Creating an environment for sleep

Throughout the course of human evolution, we have developed certain triggers that tell us when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep.  In our modern society we have become increasingly bad at keeping these things separate.

Light. Motion. Sound.

LIGHT tells the brain to wake up.  Darkness tells the brain to go to sleep.

MOTION tells the brain to wake up.  Stillness tells the brain to go to sleep.

SOUND tells the brain to wake up.  Silence tells the brain to go to sleep.

Therefore, when you’re ready to sleep, your bedroom should look like this:

circuscircusDARK

As opposed to this:

circuscircus

Your bedroom should not look like this.
Photo by DeAnna Dimmitt

 

 

That means making the room dark and quiet.  Turn off the TV, close the blinds, turn off your phone, maybe even turn the digital clock towards the wall.  Ask your cat to kindly refrain from climbing the bookshelves at 3am.

Do Relaxing Things Before Going To Bed

It helps to take some time to unwind and set the mood.

Take a bath.

Read a book.

Drink a cup of herbal tea.

Substance Control

The first, and most obvious, is caffeine.  Try not to have it after lunch.

Quit smoking.  Aside from all the other reason to quit smoking, nicotine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep patterns.

Quit drinking alcohol.  Many people think that drinking alcohol at night helps them sleep but this is actually not true.  Alcohol is a sedative, yes, that is true but sedated sleep is not the same as natural sleep.  Alcohol interferes with the sleep cycles.  This is (part of) why you feel so tired the next day after a night out of drinking.  Another compelling reason to quit drinking is that alcohol has a negative impact on the metabolism and contributes to weight gain.

 

I hope you enjoyed this series on SLEEP, The Wonder Drug!  To receive more great posts like this one and my FREE workout video, be sure to fill out the form below!

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Author: DeAnna Dimmitt

ACE Certified Personal Trainer specializing in Mind Body Exercise.

8 Comments

  1. Yeah…it really is about lifestyle choices. It’s a lot easier to tun the ol’ brain off when you haven’t been feeding it wackiness right up to bed time. Great stuff! Thanks, DeAnna. :)

  2. I definitely keep my room as dark as I can get it. Many times I’ll read in bed before turning out the lights and often find that gets me “sleepy eyed.”

    I know you said silence tells the brain to go to sleep, but I find that soothing music (i.e. Deva Premal, Snatum Kaur) sometimes helps me doze off. And, if I wake in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep it can help then as well.

    I value my sleep time for sure and am grateful for those nights when I sleep fully & deeply.
    Thanks for the tips.
    D

    • Hi Debra,
      Thanks for the comment! I to find that certain kinds of soothing music can help me feel sleepy. I will usually play it through headphones with an app on my phone that turns it off after a certain amount of time. I find that the music helps me get to sleep but, if it stays on, then it also wakes me up. Glad you enjoyed the series!

  3. DeAnna, It is obvious that you have done a lot of good research and have given us the means to change things – unfortunately it only occurs when we want it to. Too many people have a tendency to watch TV just before they go to bed or even to sleep with the TVs in their bedroom. Lifestyle does play a big part and many think that 5 -6 hours is sufficient to maintain their present lifestyle. But after a while this catches up with them and other things begin to show through – quickness to become upset, not being patient with projects, not thinking things through before acting. Even falling asleep at the wheel of the car (some of the recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation can be as deadly as alcohol consumption when it comes to car accidents). Thanks for a great article.

    • Thanks for the comment, John! You know, sleeping with the TV on in the bedroom has always been a big no-no for me. My parent’s wouldn’t me do it when I was growing up and now I can’t sleep if the the TV is on. I don’t even have a TV in my bedroom. Glad you enjoyed the series!

  4. Wonderful series and you’ll be happy to know I am now getting 7-8 hours most every night. WOW – the results have been amazing. It does take some work and some restrictions, but in the morning and throughout the day it has been so worth it.

    I’ll have to work on the smoking and drinking ;) LOL!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the subject. I’ impressed.

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