virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Simple Tips for Relaxing and Sleeping

It is amazing to me how many sites are selling insomnia cures. There must be thousands of them. There are magical binaural beats, mystical herbs and other things that can not be classified as anything but made up junk science. Magnets? Over the bed pyramids? There is actually one site who advertises that they have put relaxation and sleep inducing Alpha and Delta tones in their wondrous recordings. One problem: there is no such thing. Some websites are so bold that they don't even tell us what their amazing CD or MP3s actually do... but if you shell out 29.95 we will learn the secret to resolving all of our sleeping problems. Of course, like most advertisers, they sell the sizzle and not the steak. Here are some common sense tips I have learned over my 25+ year battle with insomnia.

  • Try to get some exercise in during the day

Over millions of years sleep evolved for most animals as a natural way of recharging our body's energy cache after a day of surviving in a brutal world. Night was the great equalizer. We slept because we were tired. Exercise, even walking, gets our biorhythms right with nature.

  • Keep a regular sleep pattern

Sounds simple enough but I have had to remain diligent about maintaining a strict sleep schedule over the years. Humans are creatures of habit so you can train your body, over a period of time, to sleep on a schedule.

  • Look out for clutter in your sleep quarters

I try to keep my bedroom as clutter-free as possible. It makes me feel more grounded for some reason. Also, I do not have a television in my bedroom as it makes no sense. You have to keep your eyes open to watch it and even if you listen to it with your eyes closed television produces light. Light is the enemy of an insomniac.

  • Be conscious of self-induced eye pressure

I work on a computer much of the day and know when I have spent too much time looking at the screen when my eyes hurt at bedtime. I don't know the medical reasons why but consciously relaxing my eye and facial tension has helped me tremendously.

  • On a hot night I have a frozen bottle of water next to me

Our bodies are the coolest they will be in a normal 24 hour cycle when we are asleep. I did not know that fact when I started putting a frozen bottle of water next to my neck, or leg or where ever. I just knew it helped me sleep.

  • Control your breathing

Most of our body functions slow down during sleeping. One thing you can control is your breathing. Incorporate relaxation techniques and consciously slow your breathing.

  • Visualize a pleasant and/or relaxing scenario

When we visualize we are using the same part of our brains as when we are dreaming. This section of the human brain is known as the Secondary Visual Cortex. Visualizing greases the grooves to deep sleep.

There is nothing to purchase or download to accomplish any of the above. I have gone from dreading the idea of trying to sleep to regularly falling asleep on a schedule. I still have my bad nights but it is nothing like it used to be. And it used to be a living Hell of sleeping pills, vodka and sleep deprivation.

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