Better Sleep, Better Life
Everyone has their own methods of winding down or relaxing. In fact, some people seem to be experts at relaxation! I have never really put a high level of priority on down time. My husband has often joked that I never sit still. I’m always doing something, keeping busy.
However, I do aim to get 7 hours of sleep every day, which is probably high for adults. But when my alarm rings in the morning, I bounce out of bed, ready to go. I am rarely sedentary for more than 20 minutes at a time all day. I am not a napper (unless I’m sick) and I almost never just sit and watch TV. I arrive to work 25 minutes early to go for a walk before I clock in for the day, and my free moments on break times are spent walking as well. If anything, I find sitting still rather agitating if done for too long. Moving around relaxes me probably more than anything else.
Because of all of this, my sleep time is important to me. I have found some tricks that have helped me to get the most of those 7 hours of sleep, which then make me more productive the entire rest of my day.
The first is my Fitbit. When I began wearing my Fitbit 3 years ago, I learned it was sometimes taking me over 30 minutes to fall asleep and was restless very often during the night. By observing my patterns and making connections between my behavior in the evening and my sleep patterns (eating, exercise, etc.) I was able to train myself to sleep better. Currently, it takes me about 2 minutes to fall asleep once I lay down. I do have “awake time” in the night – mostly due to how much water I drink all day – but even with that included, I sleep well, and for long, continuous lengths of time.
The other thing I do is sort of quirky, but for me, it worked immediately. Since I was a child, I have been prone to vivid dreams and nightmares. Even as a grown adult, I sometimes wake up frightened by the clarity of my nightmares. Sometimes they border on the ridiculous, but quite often I dream that I am failing out of school. A long time ago I noticed that my dreams and nightmares were often connected to things I had on my mind in the evening. Listening to classical music helped me when I was a teenager and young adult, but I have found something else now that helps me even more.
Bob Ross has the most soothing voice and listening to him paint, the soft brush strokes on the canvas and him muttering softly about trees having friends relax me more than anything else. I actually quite love watching Bob Ross paint. How he turns a blank canvas into a masterpiece in 30 minutes amazes me. But his soft spoken demeanor puts me under a spell, and I am so relaxed I can hardly keep my eyes open. So every night, I play a YouTube video of Bob Ross on my tablet. I put the tablet behind my pillow, so the volume is very low but close to my ears, and I listen. I have never slept better and more peacefully than when I do this.
Then, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I am well rested, refreshed and ready to go 100mph all day again, knowing that no matter how busy and tired I become during the day, I have another restful night ahead of me.
I guess we all need to find the quirk that satisfies us!