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When sleep evades us

How many times in our life have we said we're going to get better sleep, rest more, recharge our batteries. It's 3:30 am and I'm wide awake. My mind is bouncing thoughts all over the place, jumping from the heated discussion I had with my husband, to when we will get to finally have that vacation, to what can I do to help ease all this suffering, to wait, did I forget to send that email? You get the picture. We're all in the same boat - the sleepless boat. So what to do?

I have found that what we do while we're awake effects our sleep more than we could ever imagine. And how we sleep effects our day even more. Here are eight ways to improve your rest and recharge:

  1. Stop with the caffeine... We all love a cup of coffee; however, caffeine has a half life. Twelve hours after that wonderful first cup, there is still 25% of the caffeine flowing through your blood stream. If you want to be in bed by 10 pm, no coffee after 10 am.

  2. What are you doing during dusk? This is the time in between being fully awake and actually sleeping. Create a dusk pattern for yourself... No screens two hours before you go to sleep, dim the lights, read a little. Think of the days when you were a child and had a sleep routine. Find what works for you.

  3. Your bedroom is your sanctuary, treat it that way. Clear out the clutter, keep your phone upside down so those pesky bright lights from screens or chargers are not showing. Make your bed so cozy and comfortable you love getting into it.

  4. Don't get angry when you wake up in the middle of the night. I did this for years. I would get angry and then I couldn't go back to sleep. Now, I merely get up for a little while. If it's really in the middle of the night, I'll move to the couch, sometimes going to a different room, with different energy helps me go back to sleep.

  5. Get physical during the day. Walking just 15 minutes a day improves your sleep at night. Walking 30 minutes a day improves everything! All this walking also gives your brain time to process during the day, instead of at 3 am.

  6. Journal. I am a firm believer in journaling. No one wants to hear all the thoughts going through my mind - but I need to set my mind free of them. Journaling in the mornings about all your troubles release them from your mind.

  7. All the things.... Before going to bed, take a moment to be mindful of all the things you're grateful for. Steering your mind to the positive before you go to sleep puts your mind in a good space.

  8. Be kind to yourself. When sleep evades you, be strategic about your day to fit in moments of rest and recharge instead of filling up on caffeine which will only repeat the cycle. A 20 minute cat nap can do wonders for the rest of the day if you're working from home. If you can't take time out of your day for an actual nap, taking a break is essential for your body and mind to function.

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