New Ideas for Better Sleep – Part IV: What kind of noise keeps you up at night?

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 9.42.09 AMTackling insomnia in a deliberate, thoughtful and natural way is easier when you break down ‘sleep noise’ into three different categories:

1.  Environmental noise is the most strait-forward and obvious type of sleep noise.  To eliminate environmental noise, start where you have the most control – your bedroom.  Our expanded definition of noise includes anything that stimulates the nervous system.  In this way, we can include light noise, sensory noise, and of course noise noise.  Starting with bedroom light, it is important to have no blue light in your sleep area.  This includes light from LED alarm clocks.  If you really want to change your relationship with sleep try this ritual:  Light a candle, and remove all the sources of LED light from your bedroom.  Better sill, invest in a low-wattage light or natural light technology, and keep your bedroom free of the pollution of blue light.

(coolness and darkness tell the body that it is time to sleep)

Next, take a look at any tactile noise that might be getting in the way of a good night sleep.  Are your sheets uncomfortable?  Is your pillow causing neck strain.  Over time, and within your budget (because nothing gets in the way of a good night sleep faster than a big credit card bill), turn your bedroom into a cool-air haven (coolness and darkness tell the body that it is time to sleep) by switching to a 100% cotton sheets that will keep you cool all night.  Make sure your pillow is suited to your sleep style, and remove other bedding that does not breathe with you.  This may sound like an investment.  But if you look at the health costs of losing sleep, you will see that removing tactile noise from your bedroom is a money saving and life saving goal.

…addressing mind noise can help you sleep better this very evening.  Try this:  Grab a notebook, a journal, or a piece of paper.  Write down three things you accomplished today that give you a sense of satisfaction.  These can be very small accomplishments, like walking around the block, organizing your desk, or reading to your child.  The point is to create a self-compassionate “I’ve done” list, as opposed to a self-punishing “to-do” list…

2.  Body noise refers to any physiological tension that may be keeping you awake.  This category includes muscle tension and digestive distress.  What is your body telling you about your readiness for sleep?  Are you carrying tight shoulders from a stressful day to bed with you?  Did an over-scheduled day cause you to eat too fast and too late?   Take a few minutes before you get into bed to rid yourself of body noise by practicing a five-minute ‘letting-go’ yoga routine.  If your belly is making noise, drink a cup of ginger, licorice, or peppermint tea to sooth your digestion, and resolve to take your last big meal at least two hours before sleep.

3.  Finally, addressing mind noise can help you sleep better this very evening.  Try this:  Grab a notebook, a journal, or a piece of paper.  Write down three things you accomplished today that give you a sense of satisfaction.  These can be very small accomplishments, like walking around the block, organizing your desk, or reading to your child.  The point is to create a self-compassionate “I’ve done” list, as opposed to a self-punishing “to-do” list.  After completing your “I’ve done” list take some calming breaths, and allow all thoughts of planning or remembering to stand aside for the next eight hours.  Easier said then done, for sure!  But with practice you will find that quieting the mind in the service of a good night sleep becomes easier and easier…….

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!….. and night….  Sleep, like mindfulness is always available to us and is often just a few breaths away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *