get to sleepChallenge 6 was to Get Up Early. I hope you are transitioning your mind and body enough to enjoy the benefits of the extra time in the morning. If you aren’t, then maybe this month’s challenge will help. You can’t get up early and be effective if you aren’t sleeping well.

Many of my clients complain about not getting enough sleep every night. Some of them can fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep. Others just can’t wind down enough to fall asleep in the first place. I used to have a boss who would say, “We can all sleep when we die.” That theory just doesn’t work for me. We all need a sufficient amount of sleep, and sometimes going to bed doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to sleep. If getting up earlier is a challenge, maybe going to sleep earlier will help.

Since sleep is vital to our well-being and everyone needs it, I thought I would pass along some information I found. According to Nancy Collop, MD, director of the Emory Sleep Center, one of the reasons we don’t always get to sleep right away is because we don’t “wind down” at night. We should put a routine in place that helps us calm our minds and bodies. Some suggestions might be to take a bath, read a book, journal your thoughts or gently stretching your body. Repeating that routine every night gives your brain the cue that it is time to go to sleep.

For those of you who wake up in the middle of the night, don’t stress over it. Most of us get irritated when we wake up because we just know that we won’t fall back to sleep. Instead of automatically going into that mindset, think about pleasant thoughts. Get up and go to the bathroom if needed, then go back to bed like you are just going to sleep. It’s not the end of the world if you wake up.

Another strategy is one my grandmother taught me. Focus on your breathing. Once you are breathing deeply, close your eyes and focus on your toes. Concentrate on relaxing your toes, then your ankles, then your calves (you see where this is going). Once your body is relaxed, think about how grateful you are about everything you have in your life—including your nice comfortable bed and pillows.

What has worked for me in the past is a calming ritual of hot tea when I go to bed and taking Melatonin. I tend to wake up in the middle of the night, but the Melatonin helps me with that issue.

Here are some other tips:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning (even on weekends)
  • Avoid caffeine after about 4 pm
  • Keep the temperature cool at night
  • Make the bedroom dark and quiet and turn off electronics
  • Put disruptive pets out of the bedroom (This doesn’t work for me—they stand at the door whining and scratching)

The main thing is to be consistent. Pick an hour that will allow you to get enough sleep to wake up early. Then, keep going to bed at that hour.

Try some of the ideas above, and see if any of them work for you…and have a good night!


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