Ok, some of you workaholics just won't be able to get *more* hours of sleep. However, you can sleep better for the hours you are dedicating to sleep.
1) RELAX YOUR EYES: NO TEXTING IN BED
Leave the bedroom area for relaxation. The brain really does associate space to tasks. One hour before you go to bed, stop the electronic stimuli. That means, stop checking email, texts, TV. Your eyes are tired and over-stimulated already by the bombardment of eletromagnetic stimuli from the computer and all that you do for work. Leave work behind and give yourself an hour to wind down. You can play mellow music, but nothing that you associate with work. Relaxing the eyes also helps to relax neck and shoulder tension.
2) REMEMBER HOW KIDS HAVE A BEDTIME STORY? CREATE A BEDTIME RITUAL.
Create a bedtime ritual. Start by planning backwards. Brush teeth, other bathroom tasks, decaf calming herbal tea, lotion/massage tired feet or crampy calves. Lavender lotions (preferably essential oils and not perfume) also have the benefit of calming.
3) CHECK YOUR NUTRITION: HOW DID YOU EAT?
Did you eat a full day's meals? Sometime you work so much, you forgot to eat lunch or dinner was too small. Don't eat right before bed, but check in with yourself in the evening after dinner to see if you need a small protein+carb combo snack. Don't make the mistake of eating crackers and feeling hungry in the middle of the night. If you eat dairy, try yogurt with fruit and nuts. Or try whole grain toast with almond butter. Or a small bowl of veggie soup (the fiber helps slow down the digestion and the warmth helps make you sleepy).
Did you know that 3 out of 4 American adults are calcium-deficient? Calcium-rich and magnesium-rich foods help relax the muscles so you can sleep better. Don't want to eat, but need a boost of calcium+magnesium to calm down the tense muscles? This is a calcium supplement that gets absorbed in 5 minutes on an empty stomach. Many of us also don't eat enough greens and are magnesium deficient, which not only shows up as tight muscles or maybe even headaches. You can take care of this deficiency with a magnesium boost. And if you've been flying between time zones or have had an irregular sleep schedule that needs to be re-regulated, L-tryptophan is really helpful -- well-loved by nurses who do over-night shifts or people who have had bad sleep due to allergies or noise disruptions. This formula of L-tryptophan really helped improve sleep and boost the mood of one of my weight loss students so that he had the energy to exercise!
4) RELAX THE BACK (and neck and shoulders)
Relax on a foam roller. This is the number one exercise toy I ask everyone to have at home. Every other exercise equipment you can use at the gym. This one is so popular, that the foam roller I lent a friend actually left town to go to his mother's house 2 hours away!
When you're too tired, the muscle tensions wound up in the day just find it hard to unwind. Used by physical therapists and Pilates instructors for core strengthening and spine alignment, all you have to do is take 2 minutes: 1 minute to lie on it (doing deep belly breaths) and 1 minute to lie on the mat to let your body feel supported in the newly relaxed position. The tension you carry into bed with you sometimes gets more wound up as you sleep, so why not let it go before you go to bed so you can sleep better!
5) CAN'T STRETCH OUT THE TENSION? EPSOM SALTS BATH TO THE RESCUE!
I admit, sometimes my calves are tight, or my hip flexors are tight, and my stretching gives me some relief but it doesn't do the trick. Epsom salts to the rescue! I buy a big stash of Epsom salts to fill up my under-the-sink cabinet. You want to pour at least 2 generous cups of salts into your water to saturate your bath with Epsom salts (=magnesium sulfate)--so that you can absorb that Magnesium into your muscles, and all those hard-to-get places can loosen up. BONUS--if you've been stressed and constipated, epsom salts bath will also help relax your gut and move things along. Salts can be bought at the dollar store in LA, pharmacies everywhere, and if you have lots of storage space, I've heard the gardening stores keep them on stock to help tomatoes grow.
6) STILL WORRIED? LET IT GO BY WRITING and TURN OFF THE "MONKEY BRAIN"
Worrying doesn't get work done. So leave the worries behind by writing it down. * By hand.*
Typing doesn't have the same release effect as handwriting your list of things you're worried about. Most things can wait for tomorrow. Turn off the "monkey brain"--yes that's the brain that spins its neurotic or repetitive wheel. Visualize a happy beach or park or your favorite relaxation spot. Your brain is powerful so go ahead and take command to train your brain to help you sleep better, more relaxed. You'll make smarter easier decisions when you are well-rested. Let your body reset well, and it's easier to be leaner and healthier.
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Practice breath techniques to reduce back and eye strain.
Structure better nutrition into your life so you can think and work at your best!
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