Can't Sleep?

From a young age, my mother always emphasized the importance of sleep. I knew that getting eight hours of sleep a night would keep me healthy and refreshed for the next day. As a child I loved getting to stay up late, yet, I would find myself crying to get out of bed in the morning. This is because our bodies need sleep. Giving our mind and muscles time to recuperate allows us to reach our full potential.

If this is true, however, why is it so hard for us to fall asleep sometimes, especially the night before something important? Personally, the night before a job interview or the first day of school, I try to go to bed early to get a good night’s sleep. However, I end up awake even later than a regular night. These nerves or feelings of excitement can disturb the body’s vital need to sleep. There are a few strategies that I have learned to help me get a proper sleep, something that is especially important on those nights where sleep just doesn’t seem to be coming.

It is important to stop looking at your phone, laptop or alarm clock right before you sleep. The blue light from these devices stimulates your brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. I suggest checking these devices before you do your night routine so that by the time you’re ready for bed, it has been a while since your brain was stimulated by blue light, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.

Secondly, be conscious of what you eat and drink before bed. All eating should be cut-off a few hours before you go to bed to give your body time to digest while you're still awake. Drinking decaffeinated chamomile tea is another great way to ease into sleep. It helps calm your mind and body by reducing stress and promoting sleep.

Finally, utilizing breathing and meditation techniques is a great way to calm the mind for sleep. Yoga breathing and meditation playlists can be found online, so don’t worry if you’re not an expert at this. I personally find this technique very beneficial, especially when my mind won’t stop racing.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to try to keep a regular sleep schedule and keep naps to a minimum. This will help maintain an 8-hour sleep even on nights before an exciting or nerve wracking day. A decade later, I can admit that my mother was right. Sleep is a key component in success, so implement these strategies and have a great sleep!