Sweet Dreams! Sleep Awareness Week™

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It’s already that time of year again: spring forward, or Daylight Saving Time. This is not the fun one, where you gain an hour – but the dreaded one, where you lose an entire hour of sleep. Boo.

This past week was the official Sleep Awareness Week™ – a campaign for public awareness of the importance of sleep.  I’m not going to argue with the value of that, but I think most of us already know how important a good night’s rest is!

Still, it’s a great idea, and their website has some great sleep tips and tools you can use, so check it out!

I used to battle insomnia, so I’ve got some handy tricks up my sleeve I’d like to share with you as well. My repertoire is one that uses all the senses, so let’s approach it like that.

Sight

This one is very hard for me, but I can’t lie, it helps!

If you can shut off the TV or computer an hour before you go to bed, thus giving your eyes a much-deserved rest, your body will be in a much better state in which to relax into sleep.

Sound

If you’ve never tried audio recordings to help you get to sleep, you are in for a treat! Try a variety of sounds while you rest, such as:

  • Rain falling on a roof
  • Ocean waves
  • Forest sounds
  • Soft, classical music
  • White noise

In today’s world, you don’t have to get in your car, drive to the mall and find a “record store” (in quotes because nobody says that anymore) to find something like this.

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You can download single tracks, albums and apps right onto your phone, so you’re always set for a good night’s sleep.

And of course, there is my standby favorite, guided meditation downloads specifically geared for getting to sleep. I’m always telling people to try one – they are quite simply miraculous!

Taste

Try some calming hot tea before bedtime (not too much, you don’t want to have to wake up to relieve yourself, or that defeats the purpose!).

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Make sure it is naturally decaffeinated herbal tea for best results.

My favorite hot tea in the whole world for bedtime is aptly named “Sleepytime Tea,” by Celestial Seasonings. All of their teas are divine. Even if you don’t consider yourself a tea person, give it a try. I didn’t think I was until I found this brand.

I love tea so much now that I even enjoy Earl Gray tea, which I thought was disgusting when I first tried it 20 years ago. Still, nothing can keep me from my full-octane-nuclear-strength coffee in the morning. Woe to the person who steps between me and my beloved Kuerig, which doses me by the hour.

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My children have memorized the mantra “don’t make eye contact with mom” – they know this by heart as a rule to abide by before I have my first cup of joe in the morning.

Touch

Pure freshly laundered cotton sheets were a given when I was a child. Maybe that is why I never put up a fuss about bedtime, because my bed linens were blissfully soft and comfy.

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Today, even when I try to purchase “fancy pants” sheets, they just don’t have the same feeling.  I stole some from my mom, I admit. Shhh, don’t tell her.

I did some web searching and found this interesting post that addresses this topic, with some tips and ideas. I’m bookmarking it for when my mom finds out I took her extra sheets.

So find yourself the best, comfiest bedding linens you can – they don’t have to be expensive (from what I hear – see that post above), but even if they are, save up, because getting a good night’s rest is worth the investment.

A good mattress is important as well – but I find that to be a boring topic, and I figure if you need a new mattress you can do what I do and just Google some reviews online.

Smell

I am a sucker for linen sprays – I love them so much, I can’t even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with them.

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I received some lavender linen bed spray as a gift at least 20 years ago, and that is when my addiction started. You can find bed sprays in every scent imaginable, but I’d advise you stick to the ones that will actually calm you.

If you purchase one with an invigorating citrus scent, do not blame me when you can’t sleep (but you can send it to me if you don’t want it – I’ll just spray it everywhere else).

Here are some of my favorites.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling Martha Stewart-like, I’ll even make my own – it’s pretty easy actually!

Nighty night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite

What sick person came up with the “don’t let the bedbugs bite” part of that little ditty? Seriously, that’s just cruel. It caused me some anxiety growing up. Bugs? What bugs? There are bugs in my bed?

I just leave that part out and tell my kids “night night, sleep tight, angels watch you through the night.”

May the angels watch over you tonight as you try out some new methods to get a good night’s sleep!

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If you have any ideas, tips, recommendations, please share them in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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Peace from your smartphone? Yes!

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Not too long ago, many people thought of meditation as something only practiced by mystical gurus and New Age enthusiasts. Well, and The Beatles.

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More and more, people are catching on to the fact that meditation is a fantastic way to de-stress get some inner peace.   It doesn’t mean you have to sit still for an hour, and you don’t have to say “OM,”  I promise.

I urge anyone to give it a try – I can list medical benefits (there are many), but really my favorite thing about it is that it just feels good – I always feel refreshed and in a great mood whenever I do so (I’m up to twice a day now), and if I’m in a good mood – that means my whole family is in a good mood.

Talk about a win/win!


Phone it in!

Today’s phones are “smart” – but they can be irritating as well, with their constant blaring, buzzing notifications alerting you to calls, texts, emails, and other news.

But you can also turn off all the sounds and use it for meditation!

There are hundreds of apps available to download some instant peace – and even better, lots of them are free! Read on for the best of the bunch.


Meditation for stress

Feeling stressed out lately?

My favorite solution to stress is to go to my Android app Simply Being Guided Meditation,” created by Meditation Oasis. Also available on iPhone.

Mary Maddux is the voice behind it, and she is so reassuring and calm – just a lovely voice.

Side note: I’ve tested out probably 100 meditation apps (yeah, I’m addicted), and occasionally, I’ll hear some awful, irritating voice, and say NOPE and hit exit. I often wonder “who in the heck approved this?!”

So you can be assured my recommendations are tested personally by me, and will only list those that pass the “annoying factor” with flying colors.

OK so back to Meditation Oasis. With this app, you have several choices for background sounds (or not) and session length. It’s available on both iPhone and Android, with a free version available as well!

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Meditation for confidence

A great app for this is aptly named: “Build Confidence” – and it delivers. For less than $3.00 (Android or iPhone) you can put your headphones on, chill out, and get your daily dose of…

“I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and doggone it – people like me.”

(hat tip Stuart Smalley of SNL)


Meditation to help you get to sleep

Insomnia is awful. As a former insomniac, if you suffer with this – you have my deepest empathy.

But there is hope, because there’s an app for that!

Relax & Sleep by Glenn Harrold  is one of the best meditative (and self-hypnotic) apps for sleep out there. Harrold has a marvelously soothing voice. It’s also available for your iPhone.

Background tones are subtle, understated, and calming. Don’t be surprised if you never get to hear the entire thing, because you’ll be asleep before it’s finished!

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Even better, you can download this app for FREEEE!

All of Glenn Harrold’s apps are great – check out his website for more goodies.

I hope you try some of these (or other) apps and give meditation a try – if you do, let me know how it goes.

Or, if you have other meditation apps you love, please share your tips!

 

 

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