for a strong, fast pick-me-up
Are you living in a sleep-deprived fog? Not fully awake – yet too tired or anxious to sleep? If so, this can help!
One of the most valuable training sessions I ever went to was about How to Sleep Effectively.
I was a TV Travel Show producer at the time and my network offered training on how to sleep.
The training was mainly meant to help people who did shift work – but I found it so valuable because I was bouncing around so many time zones and travelling and I seemed to live in a sleep-deprived “fog” – not fully awake yet not able to sleep properly.
These days, I’m a corporate trainer and coach and lots of clients ask me to help them get proper refreshing and recharging sleep.
Here are a few of the many tips I share.
1. Prepare for sleep. Wind down before you sleep
Start calming down BEFORE you intend to sleep.
Many of my clients work late on computers or check messages on their phones. Then they wonder why they have trouble sleeping with so many thoughts buzzing around in their heads.
There’s another reason they can’t sleep too.
The light from computer or tablet or phone screens can “wake you up” when you should be sleeping. Switch off any screen devices at least 30 minutes before you intend to sleep. Even better start an hour before. Also, try to avoid the TV just before bed.
I now have a ritual of no screens a hour before sleep. Often, I’ll read a book or have some quiet time calming down and preparing for sleep.
Another little “trick” from the sleep course I did years ago – try to keep your space dimly lit. I was advised to have a night-lights in the bathroom and the kitchen to avoid turning on the bright lights if I needed a glass of water or to go to the bathroom. Light can make it harder for you to fall asleep again. And it worked!
2. Reduce/ avoid stimulants I am a massive coffee fan and when I worked in TV on a national Morning show preparing stories for the next day, I’d often stay up all night by drinking copious coffee. These days I don’t touch coffee after 3 in the afternoon. After that time I switch to herbal teas – like chamomile.
3. Reduce/avoid sleeping pills I must confess in my Travel show days I’d take all sorts of sleeping pills and products to help me sleep. I remember one of my colleagues having to get carried off a plane because he was “knocked out” by sleeping pills. It’s much better to try to sleep naturally.
4. Use calming music What I found really works for me is calming music with slow long sustained notes and phrases. Personally, I found that my breathing got in synch with the calm, slow rhythms.
When travelling on a plane and trying to sleep, the music would help block out other distracting noises.
Even today, if thoughts are buzzing around in my head – I focus on the music and the sounds.
Also, I found that playing he same relaxing music seemed to induce a Pavlovian-type response and I’d be asleep in minutes.
I hope these tips help you sleep and get a good rest.
The main points are:
1. wind down before sleep time
2. no screens and light before sleep time
3. try to avoid or reduce stimulants or sleeping pills
4. try to use calm, relaxing music
It’s important to stop your mind from racing and to stop worrying that you are not getting any sleep.
You know that feeling when you can’t sleep because you keep worrying that you can’t sleep.
I’ll share some more tips in Part 2.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.