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Sleep Like a Baby: 5 Tips for Deep Delicious Sleep

Originally posted on:

slightly repurposed for FH&B…

I frequently set my alarm clock for times that start with a “5” and occasionally a “4,” and if I don’t get my behind in bed by 9 or 9:30 pm, I’m only looking at 5-6 hours of sleep at best. My guess is that many of you can relate, for various reasons including a rigorous work schedule, demanding social life, family responsibilities and more!

We all know what it’s like to “sleep”…but not really SLEEP. A friend of mine refers to this as “anxiety sleep,” where even though your eyes are closed and you’re seemingly unconscious, your brain is racing at 100mph with thoughts of the days events, tomorrow’s to do list and countless other impediments to relaxation and deep sleep. I hate this more than anything because nothing is worse than feeling more exhausted when you wake up then before your head even hits the pillow.

Relaxing and clearing your head are not things that come easily to everyone. Don’t be discouraged if this process takes a few days or weeks to become effective. Give it a shot before you go to bed each night, I can’t promise perfection but I can promise progress and improvement. If you sleep next to another person, let them know what you’re doing so they don’t hinder the process.

5 Tips To Getting Better Rest

THE SET UP: The objective here is to set yourself up for rest and relaxation. This will allow you to focus on sleeping and make it your top priority, rather than all the thoughts clouding your brain and getting in your way.

1)  Shut It Down:
Handle all business before you crawl into bed. Wash up, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, prepare anything you need to for the next day (clothing, food, pack a gym bag, etc.), and MOST importantly, unplug. Phones and computer’s off! (Proximity of phone to bed carries with it the temptation to check email, FB, Twitter and etc which is not helping you to relax or clear your head). The reality is, life goes on while you sleep, your updates will be there in the morning.

2) Get comfortable.
Great sleep involves maximum comfort.  From what you’re wearing to the position you’re laying in. Figure out what works best for you and do that. Also, being at the right temperature, with comfy sheets and the right pillow can make a world of difference. Lastly, ear plugs and an eye mask can be a huge aid in the process.

3) Clear Your Head. One of the most important things to shut down is our own thoughts. Change the channel of your thoughts when you are getting ready to sleep.  Many of us lay down with no fewer than one million thoughts racing through our melons.  Here are two quick pointers to hitting your inner “On Demand” button.

Find your sacred place. In The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford walks through a visualization of finding your most sacred place.  You can fabricate this ideal place, or it can be a real place that you love so much, the mere thought of being there brings you calmness and joy.  Mine is Condado Beach in San Juan, PR (pictured below)

Focusing your imagination on bringing a vivid picture of this place to mind is an excellent way to clear your head.

Count anything. Sheep, coconuts, tulips or plain old numbers.  You can count forwards or backwards, it’s totally up to you.  Let the numbers clear the rest of your thoughts right out.

4) Breathe
Breathing also helps you gain control of your body, lowers your heart rate, gives you something to focus on and takes your thoughts away from everything else.

You want to close your eyes while in your ideal comfortable position and breathe deeply and SLOWLY in through your nose, out through your mouth.

For some this may take longer than others to gain control of your breathing and totally relax, so I’m not going to give you a time frame. This could go on for 60 seconds, five or ten minutes. That’s up to you.  (quite often I fall asleep during this step!)

5) Meditate/Pray (Relax! I’m not going to get super spiritual on you, keep reading)
Now is the time to really calm down. You can do this by airing out your day–talk to whomever you want, God, the Universe, a relative who’s passed on, yourself, it doesn’t matter, just talk (outloud or silently is up to you).

As you continue your breathing, let out anything negative that happened that day. Imagine the exhalation as black negative air leaving your body, and the inhalation as an amazing, beautiful color of your choice coming into your body and spreading calmness from head to toe. Again, there’s no time limit, just keep your eyes closed and get it all out.

Once you’re done releasing the negative, take some time to say thank you for the things in your life you appreciate that day.

Continue breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Why you ask? Never forget, what you appreciate, appreciates!

Lastly, regular exercise is an amazing catalyst for deep, delicious sleep–so don’t forget to get those workouts in!

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Give these techniques a try and let me know what you think in the comments below. If you found this useful, go ahead share it with co-workers, family and friends. They’ll thank you for it 🙂

Sleep Like a Baby: 5 Tips for Deep Delicious Sleep