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other sounds that help us sleep. Some people need to sleep in complete silence; while on the other hand, some need a little
For many (myself included), the dripping of the faucet, the hum of electricity, the sound of themselves breathing, or the blankets
rustling as they toss and turn stresses them out and keeps them awake. So what's the deal?
Technically speaking, white noise is a consistent noise that comes out evenly across all hearable frequencies. When you get jarred
awake or bothered by a noise at night, it's not really the noise itself, but the abrupt inconsistency in the noise that you hear.
The fact of the matter is you still hear when you sleep, and white noise can mask those inconsistencies. The scientific aspect set
aside, it's just plain soothing, filling out the silence that makes you feel trapped with racing thoughts or excess energy. There
are even white noise machines that can be purchased for specifically this purpose.
- Create an environment in which you feel safe. While the bedroom is optimal, it may not be possible to rest there for reasons
specific to each person (e.g. if you experienced violence in that room or a similar room). It may also help to have a friend or
family member stay in the room, or perhaps in a nearby room, while you are sleeping.
- Use Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has a number of different uses, but is perhaps used most often for relaxing or creating a sense
of drowsiness. Numerous studies have resulted in science giving a nod to the validity of aromatherapy. The essential oil of lavender
(not fragrance oil!) can be added to your nightly bath to relax and calm you, or you can simply open the bottle and inhale a bit of
it right before bedtime. It helps gently ease stress and relax.
If you find yourself having a hard time drifting off at night, try making a lavender sleep sachet to stash under your pillow, or
on a bedside table, to help you relax and drift off. Apply essential oil of lavender to your pillow, or spritz some on your bedding
- Exercise early in the day, and on a regular basis. Studies find moderate aerobic activity can improve insomniacs' sleep quality,
as well as give you more energy when you're awake. For best results, exercise at least three hours before bedtime so the body has
sufficient time to wind down before hitting the sack. (Having sex or masturbating before bed can help you fall asleep as well.)
- Do some leg exercises. We know we told you not to exercise before bed. But, apparently, some easy leg lifts, squats, or your leg
exercise of choice can help divert blood flow to the legs and away from the brain. This can help quiet the mind, making it easier to
slip into dreamland.
- Bathe or shower before bed. Stepping from warm water into that pre-cooled bedroom will cause body temperatures to drop
slightly, which can trigger sleepy feelings by slowing down metabolic activity.
A soothing and relaxing Epsom Salt bath works magic (another option: to obtain Magnesium, if you prefer not to supplement). Add a
few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender is great) to get the soothing benefits of aromatherapy as well. Light some candles,
and turn on some relaxing music.
- Schedule "worry time" during the day. Spend 15 minutes during the day addressing problems (journaling is a good way to start) so
they don't sneak up when your head hits the pillow. If a particular event or stressor is keeping you up at night, and it has a clear
end date, the problem may resolve itself naturally.
- Vent stresses. If designated worry time earlier in the day didn't fully do the trick, spend some extra time writing down
anxieties before bed. Loose-leaf paper works, but if you scrawl your sorrows in a journal or notebook, you can literally "close the
book" on your worries, at least until morning.
- Limit caffeine. It's tempting to reach for coffee when we're tired after a poor night's sleep. But drinking caffeine can make it
harder for us to fall asleep at night, creating a vicious cycle. Can't quit cold turkey? Try limiting caffeine intake to earlier in
the day so it's out of your system by bedtime.
- Nap the right way. Just 10-20 minutes of napping during the day can help us feel rested, improve our creativity, and memory.
But try to avoid napping after 3-4:00PM, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime.
Continue Reading Sleep Issues: Page 3