Author | DIAKADI Business Assistant and Trainer Cristian Luecke When I first was hired at DIAKADI I had trouble sleeping. Every night I would toss and turn thinking about falling asleep but literally the sandman must have just been avoiding me! Sometimes I would not get to sleep until three or four in the morning. This would affect my work, my relationships and especially my attitude about life. I did not feel like I had control of what was going on and all of my goals seemed at a stand-still. I knew I did not want to become dependent on any sleep aids but something needed to change. I needed to regain control of my sleep so during the day I could function at full capacity.
About six months ago I completely and totally figured out how to effectively change my sleeping habits. No longer do I toss and turn at night, in fact I tend to fall asleep within thirty minutes of turning off my lights and deciding it is time for bed. What worked for me might not work for you but it is worth a try if you tend to have trouble drifting into blissful sleep.
- Turning off electronics an hour before deciding to go to sleep: You hear this one a lot but it is soooo true! The light emitted from computers, tvs, ipads and even phones stimulates your brain in such a way that it makes your brain believe it is still day time! This can make it substantially harder for you to get into that deep breathing relaxed mood that is so important for sleep. I found that I needed to turn off all my electronics at least an hour before the time that I wanted to fall asleep. If you want to be asleep by 10:30 then turn off electronics at 9:30 even if you are not just ready to hop in bed. Just allow yourself time to truly unwind. Some people even dim or turn off lights as the sunsets!
- Deep Breathing Exercises: I know this sounds silly but sometimes the anxiety of not being able to fall asleep would bother me so much it would make things worse and I would have even MORE trouble getting the sleep I needed! I found that deep breathing exercises, either in bed if I find my mind being overactive or sitting on the floor before getting into bed, REALLY helped me fall asleep. Generally I would take a four second deep breath in through my nose filling my lungs, and then breath out of my mouth for four seconds emptying my lungs. I try to think about nothing but my breathing and generally this will really calm me down and allow me to drift to sleep.
- Did you know that your phone most likely has a “do not disturb” function (iPhones definitely do!) which makes sure that you do not get certain, or all notifications during a certain period of time that you set. Don’t worry, your alarm will still go off. This function has been crucial. The buzz buzz of the phone would always wake me up and sometimes I would even get into intellectual conversations at 1am! I highly recommend using this function!
These three tips allowed me to regain my ability to perform at peak function during the day without thinking about how nice it would be to try and sleep again! My workouts became less of a chore, my relationships with people brightened and I started taking control of my goals.
One person asked me "Cristian, if I turn off all my electronics an hour before falling asleep what am I supposed to do with that time?!" One way that I used my time was to study and read. If you always wanted to learn a second language or anything of that nature this would be a great time to do that! You can also practice your deep breathing and I guarantee this will calm you and maybe even allow you to fall asleep sooner than you might have thought. Sometimes I like to just sit out in the backyard and just star gaze! If you need more ideas to help you sleep try some of these awesome tips by Cognitive Behavior Self-Help Resources.
Give these tips a try if you find yourself having trouble sleeping or honestly even relaxing and remember to slow down and take time for YOU. These are only three tips out of many that could work for you so if these particular ones don’t help do not be afraid to ask someone or research on your own. Most of my ideas I got from my mentor and boss Billy during one of our meetings! Stay rested my friends!