I just read about a brilliant way to lull yourself to sleep — or back to sleep if, like me, you tend to wake up in the middle of the night.
- Think of a letter — either at random or start at the beginning of the alphabet.
- Visualize a word beginning with that letter, e.g. “apple” for A. Don’t choose anything you’re phobic about, such as clowns, heights or spiders.
- Keep thinking of new words beginning with the same letter (“avocado”, “armadillo”…) and take time to picture each one.
- When you run out of images, move on to a new letter.
- Keep going until you nod off.
I tried this in the middle of the night and bored myself back to sleep in record time!
Have a great, sleep-filled weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are mothers, about-to-be mothers, or have ever had a mother.
If you’re finding sleep a bit elusive these days, here are some tips I’ve collected this week.
In no particular order:
- Have a small amount of milk or plain yogurt before bedtime. The proteins are soothing and will keep you from waking up hungry.
- Turn the thermometer down to 66.2 degrees F, which is apparently the optimal sleep temperature.
- Read something relaxing for 30 minutes to calm your brain.
- Lower all lights as soon as the sun goes down to jumpstart the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, as soon as possible.
- Do some yoga stretches and deep breathing – you can even do these in bed.
- Drink a cup of South African red rooibos tea before bedtime. Its medicinal properties are believed to improve restfulness.
- Sniff mint every two hours. Peppermint is said to be calming.
- Keep a sleep diary to note your natural patterns. It may be perfectly normal for you to take an hour break in the middle of the night as long as you fall asleep again, so don’t let it stress you out.
- Drink Montmorency tart cherry juice a couple of times a day. It’s packed with sleep-inducing melatonin as well as antioxidants. In a 2012 study, subjects who drank it for seven days had higher levels of melatonin as well as improved sleep.