Where did all the sheep go?
July 3, 2012
Your mom might have told you to count sheep to help you fall asleep at night, but as the sheep get pushed out by thoughts of work meetings, conflicts with friends and relationship woes, sleep can seem harder to come by. There are a couple of things to pinpoint about your sleeping habits to see if you can visit Dreamland on a more regular basis. Start with these important questions.
What do you do in your bed?
Women have long been reading, eating, watching TV and even painting our nails in or on our beds, and now that wireless internet is as widespread as running water, many of us are guilty of bringing work to bed – literally, with laptops, papers and books.
If you commonly do activities in your bed that do not involve sleeping, your brain and body no longer associate the place with sleep. If the only thing you ever do is sleep (and have sex) in your bed, you will essentially be hardwired to relax and go to sleep when you climb under the covers. Otherwise, your bed is the same as your desk at work. Ugh!
The bottom line? Sex and sleep should be the only activities that occur in your bed. Ahhh….
What do you do before bed?
If your answer includes a screen – your computer, TV or cell phone – you might already know what you have to do. Watching TV or browsing the internet seems pretty relaxing, but that mesmerizing glow of the screen actually tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time to sleep yet.
Now, it would be nice to think that the only things we do on our computers before bed are for entertainment, we all know that’s not the reality. You might be checking your online bank statement or reading a couple of emails on your phone right before you turn off the light. If you expect your brain to automatically switch from this mindset into a relaxing one, think again.
It is best to avoid late-night electronic use altogether to help center your mind and body and prepare for those eight hours away from the screen.
Of course, there are other factors involved in good sleep too, including how much exercise you get (and how close to bedtime you do exercise), what your diet is like (cut out the caffeine, sugar and alcohol) and certain health conditions or medications you are on. If you feel like you’ve done everything you can to improve your shut-eye, talk to your doc about possible sleep aids, natural or prescription, to help you get you the rest you need.