Twelve Tips to Create a Sleep Haven
Before I forget, don’t miss the free NICABM summer teleseminar series. Last week was on mindful eating, and I think I’m up next. There have been some pretty amazing interviews in this series – Ruth Buczynski has a knack for finding cutting edge material and the latest advances in the field. Those of you interested in attachment theory, for instance, check out what Dr. Louis Cozolino has to say about cortisol, brain cells and attachment – he puts together some key pieces to the puzzle of attachment disorder.
I also want to remind you about the new Phase One certification program in Integrative Imagery for Healthcare Professionals, coming up on October 9-11 in Redwood City, CA, close to the San Francisco airport. Susan Ezra tells me that there’s a special recession-rate tuition reduction of $600 off the full training for this 2009-2010 track only. Contact Beyond Ordinary Nursing at http://www.integrativeimagery.com and register by September 1st.
Well, I just found some advice from that most excellent health writer, Ellen Michaud, on how to create a haven for sleep. She wrote a book last year called Sleep to be Sexy, Smart and Trim (trust me, the Ellen I know had nothing to do with that title!), which states, among other things, that 2 extra hours of sleep will burn about 300 calories, and cause you to eat nearly 300 calories less. Even I can do the math here, people, and it looks good to me.
So, check out her twelve tips, which originally appeared in Readers Digest. Some of ‘em wouldn’t work for me personally, but I agree with most of these pointers, and I think some of these – about body temperature and darkness, for instance - are terrific reminders. Sleeping naked with socks?? Not so much.
By Ellen Michaud with Julie Bain
- Buy a New Mattress. Don’t even try to comparison shop. Every mattress in every store has a different name. And every owner of every mattress shop says that the mattresses in his shop are different — and better — than every other mattress shop on the planet. The truth is that the right mattress for you is the one that you try in your home for 30 days. Find a mattress shop that offers that option, pick out the mattress that you and your partner think is the most comfortable, make sure it has a guarantee, and flash your plastic. Don’t worry about coils and foam and luxury toppers. The mattress that allows you to sink into a deep, natural sleep and wake up in the morning without aches and pains is the one you want. And there’s only one way to find out which mattress that is.
- Bask in Comfort. Buy silky, natural tree-fiber sheets in a soothing color. An exquisitely soft cashmere throw for the bed. A hypoallergenic down comforter. A sunshine silk duvet cover. Pillows, pillows, and more pillows. A roll for behind your neck, a wedge for behind your back, a full-body pillow for when your bed partner is away. Hypoallergenic, of course. And don’t forget the teddy bear. No girl can sleep without one.
- Spritz. A quick spritz of soothing lavender water on your pillows before bed will help calm your exhausted mind.
- Chill Before Bed. Lower the temperature of your bedroom before you climb into bed, says Becky Wang-Cheng, M.D., a medical director at Kettering Medical Center in Ohio. Lower temperatures signal your body it’s time to sleep. If your bed partner objects, just tell him to bundle up.
- Soak. A hot bath also helps you lower your body’s temperature. Yeah, your temperature goes up while you’re in the bath, but your body’s response to the heat will be to drop your temperature way down low.
- Schedule a Massage. “Massage interrupts the neurohormones connected with sleeplessness and almost manually imposes sleep on you,” says therapist Belleruth Naparstek, M.S. “If you can’t afford a massage, go to a massage school. You can get one there for $15.”
- Get Mean. Women aren’t used to nurturing themselves or putting themselves first. But sleep is so necessary to health and happiness that you have to do it. If the dog’s snoring wakes you up, then put him in another room. If your partner’s snoring wakes you up, help him get treatment. If he refuses to cooperate, put him in another room, too.
- Shut the Drapes. You sleep better in the dark. If your eyelids flutter open as you move from one stage of sleep to another, even streetlights or a full moon can wake you up.
- Ditch the Night-Lights. You can also get rid of the clock radios with lighted displays. It turns out your brain can misinterpret even such dim lights and wonder if it should wake you up. “Dark inhibits the brain’s biological clock,” says Dr. Yan-Go. It tells your brain it’s time to sleep.
- Pull on Socks. There’s no solid explanation for it, but studies have found that wearing socks to bed helps you sleep. It may be that warming your feet and legs allows your internal body temperature to drop.
- Ignore the clock. Turn your clock’s face or digital readout away so you can’t see it. We wake slightly throughout the night. A glimpse of your clock — and the realization that you have to get up soon — is enough to jolt you out of sleep and keep you out.
- Sleep Naked. It’s easier to adjust your comfort zone with sheets and blankets you can pull up or throw off rather than a long nightgown or a pair of fleece pajamas, says neurologist Charles J. Bae, M.D., a sleep specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. The idea is to make the adjustment in a way that rouses you from sleep the least.
Okay, I hope this is useful.