Yes, “yesterday” was awhile ago. I’ve spent days kneeling on a wooden floor, whipping my back a la Da Vinci Code style to repent for my lateness. Moving on! Here are some ways to help you fall asleep and things you should avoid.
Give your technology the cold shoulder.
Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are great excuses for us to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but when we use technology we are generally being passive. We’re watching videos or clicking on pictures. We turn into drones. Not only are we not using much brain power (and if we are it’s highly hindered due to how tired we are), but our eyes are unconsciously focusing on a pulsating light our laptop screen gives off. Instead, if you find you must do something before going to bed try picking up a hard-copy book. This is not the time for Dostoyevsky. Go down to a used book store and grab a cheap copy of some indulgent book. I’m usually out after 10 pages.
If you find that you tend to be a night owl, despite your early morning classes, put pent up energy to good use and exercise. Not only will you get some mean muscles, but you’ll make sleeping beauty jealous. Honestly, some of the best nights of sleep I’ve gotten have been post workout.
You can also take a nice, hot shower. You’ll save time in the morning, jump into your sheets all squeaky clean, and allow your body to relax in a natural way. The hot water helps make you sleepy, and if you can find a nice lavender bar soap (or even a candle) you’ll be yawning all the way to the bedroom.
Things to avoid
Weed before bed: There is a lot of conflicting data on how marijuana affects your sleep cycle. There are propaganda sites that clearly think weed is the devil’s creation, and sites I feel go overboard on the positive side effects. Look, I’m not here to judge people that smoke pot. What you should watch out for, though, is if you have a “dependence” oh needing it to go to sleep. People become psychologically, not chemically, dependent to smoking weed, but it can be just as problematic. You should feel like you can go to bed without lighting up a bowl.
Alcohol before bed: Unlike weed, there is a lot of science on how alcohol affects your sleep. Drinking before bed can mess with your REM cycle. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is when you’re dreaming and your brain is processing a great deal of information. We always dream, but you just might remember them. Alcohol can also cause you to wake up during the night on several occasions, but not remember it. This can be very problematic if you are a frequent drinker, as you won’t be getting quality sleep.
Medicine & pills before bed: I swear the muscle relaxer I’ve been on for my neck releases magic sleeping dust into my system. However, I haven’t been taking it every night, because I know how easy it can be to start relying on OTC and prescription medicine to fall asleep. Not to mention it can be dangerous. Again, I write this coming from someone who made a lot, a lot of stupid decisions in my early college years. Don’t fall into a trap of taking medication to fall asleep unless you absolutely need it. During Freshman year one of my roommates at HPU couldn’t fall asleep without drinking Nyquil! It’s just not worth it. If you think you need help, get help. Most colleges have counselors you can talk to for free.
Finally, make sure you research any “herbal” remedies as well. I don’t know a lot about melatonin, but I dug up two websites I thought had interesting information. Just because something is herbal doesn’t mean you should take it, it’s safe to take, and it’s appropriate for your body or life style needs.
Peel Away <3