Count Down Checklist to Happy Dream Time

Your Perfect Night’s Sleep

Sleep can be elusive sometime. As we age the hormone’s that help us fall asleep and stay asleep diminish. Melatonin is one of these. Losing sleep when we were in our 20’s was usually no big deal. Staying up late to finish a term paper or party with our college mates was part of our life. Sleep loss for the over 4 crowd is a different story.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, today, about 20% of Americans report that they get less than 6 hours of sleep on average, and the number of Americans that report that they get 8 hours of more has decreased. Sleep loss has serious implications.

Loss of sleep can lead to poor work performance, driving accidents, relationship problems and even depression. There are health risks has been documented, too. Sleep loss has been implicated in hear disease, obesity and diabetes.

So how do you get a good night’s sleep? Follow this check list:

  1. Say “no” to Joe. Quit your caffeine intake by noon. Caffeine stays in your system for up to 8 hours. That 3 pm expresso may keep you up.
  2. Go to the gym. Finish your workout by 8 pm. Exercising late in the evening may have a stimulating effect.
  3. Go dark. Make sure your room is really dark. Get room darkening shades if necessary.
  4. Don’t sleep with the enemy. Turn off your screens one hour before bed. The light from the screen interferes with your body’s natural production of melatonin and your sense of night and day rhythms.
  5. Chill out. Keep your room cool and you will sleep better. Experts suggest a comfy 68 degrees. Too hot or cold and your body can’t stay asleep.
  6. Walk the dog. Yes, the dog needs to go out before bed. But, a 10 – 20 minute walk in the night air helps your body let of the day and get ready for sleep.
  7. Put your feet up. The yoga pose called “feet up the wall” is a great DE stressor. Lay on your back next to a wall and put your feet on the wall. Five minutes of this and you’re ready to snooze.
  8. Download the day. Put a notebook by your toothbrush or on your night stand. Write down these things: A. Everything that went right today.; B. Everything you are ruminating about.; C. Ten things you are grateful for. Now your mind can rest too.
  9. Find some fat. Eating a little protein and fat before bed helps your body digest some food slowly through the night. This prevents your “I’m hungry” hormones from waking you up. No not ice cream! Try almond butter with some carrots or apple, a piece of cheese with carrots.
  10. Brush and stretch. I love this one. As you brush your teeth, put one leg on the vanity and touch your toes, then the other leg. Stretch your arms up over your head and bend side to side. Ahhh.

Sweet dreams!

Let me know how these work for you and which of them are your favorites. I love hearing from you.

Christine J. Harris, M.S., L.M.F.T., C.B.T.

Christine J. Harris, M.S., L.M.F.T., C.B.T.

Christine Harris is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist in Littleton, Colorado. Her specialty is embracing all of you: body, mind, and spirit in the therapy process. She has extensive post-graduate training in Bioenergetic Psychotherapy, a body-centered form of counseling. Contact her about your life’s adventures, misadventures, and desire for a more vibrant life. Email: [email protected] Phone: 720-727-2500.

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