I woke up the other morning feeling like I hadn’t slept a wink. I had been in bed, yes, but slept? No. I tossed and turned, slept here and there. Turned on the T.V., which was no help. Went to the bathroom, drank some water and still nothing. The entire night was hit and miss.
Why wasn’t I sleeping?
Normally I’m a great sleeper. When I’m working on various writing projects and preparing for speaking engagements, I’m generally up very early and going to bed no later than 10. It gives me the sleep I need to be productive and to ensure that my mind is ready for a full day of creativity.
I needed to figure out what was going on. And, I needed a plan to not have another night fighting with “Mr. Sandman.”
I began going through all of the tips I’d heard from talk shows, friends, the Internet, and of course from my mom. She always had great tidbits to share. Then I began adding my own experiences from years past and came up with a recipe for what would surely be a good night’s sleep.
This is what I did.
- Read a book or watch T.V. – I love to read. It gives me information that propels me forward in my own business. But sometimes, I find that reading too much about work related topics keeps my mind going and eager to try the new knowledge the next day. So, on this particular night, I decided to watch T.V for an hour before turning out the lights. My mind was on something other than my projects, which allowed me to unwind a bit. However, you need to determine which of the two work better for you based on your schedule and needs.
- Drink a cup of hot tea – I love my hot tea. It doesn’t matter if it’s flavored or plain, as long as it has some milk and sugar; I’m good to go. There’s something about the warmth and the flavor that is soothing to the body and to the mind. Now, you might be a coffee drinker or would rather have a cup of milk or something else (a glass of wine perhaps), but for me, hot tea did the trick.
- Meditate on things that make you happy – When it’s time to close your eyes and ready yourself for the next day ahead, don’t think of all the things you should’ve done (hopefully you wrote those down on a piece of paper so you won’t forget them tomorrow), or the people who made you mad or the dinner that didn’t taste quite right. Think about wonderful memories of events in your life. Think about the things you’ve accomplished and the growth you’ve seen from year to year (and we all can find growth if we look for it). In doing this, your mind will be at peace allowing you to rest and feel great the next day.
- Change the sheets on the bed – I know this may sound trivial and seem silly, but there is nothing better than the smell of fresh, clean sheets and the feel of the fabric against your skin. Maybe it’s just psychological, but it doesn’t matter. The objective is a good night’s sleep and if changing the sheets on the bed does the trick, then changing the sheets it is.
- Listen to some soothing music or nature sounds – Because I love music and I write music as well, listening to it while going to sleep only keeps me awake. I’m listening to chord structures and arrangements rather than fading off to never never land. So for me, I have a clock radio with nature sounds and I have it set on the sound of rain. I love this. It’s soothing and peaceful. Not only does it help me sleep, my very energetic German shepherd mellows out too. It’s a win win.
- Turn off your phone (or put it on “do not disturb”) – I know you’re important. I am too, but… if you’re going to remain important to those people who love you, then you’ll need to get some sleep. If you have family members that may need to get a hold of you like parents who might need help or a teenage daughter who has a curfew, then by all means, put the phone on “do not disturb.” Then the other “not so important” people will get your voicemail. It’s ok. They’ll survive and you’ll be better for it.
- Create a routine – When you figure out what works best for you and can guarantee you that much needed restful night, stick to it. Make it a habit and follow the routine each night. You’ll find yourself rested and ready to hit the ground running the next day.
What are some of the “tricks of the trade” you’ve learned in ensuring a good night’s sleep?