I’ve been having some trouble sleeping recently, and I’m not sure why. I go to sleep between 12-1am (usually) and I like to wake up around 8:30-9am. But sometimes I wake up early – say 5-6am – and I can’t get back to sleep. Sometimes I get up because I have to pee, other times I just get up for no reason. I don’t usually have trouble sleeping when I first go to bed, but when I wake up in the middle of the night it’s always a struggle to get back to sleep.
I googled around and read some magazines and found a bunch of sleep tips that I thought you, my dear readers, might find useful. The one that helps me the most is journaling. I found some of these in the current issue of Health magazine.
- Move your body. Getting exercise during the day makes you physically tired, so it’s easier to fall asleep – your body needs it.
- Yoga. Yoga before bedtime is really relaxing. It’s a good time to start winding down your body and your mind. Even just some simple stretches can do wonders. (Just make sure not to do anything too intense – that might have the opposite effect that you want and wake you up.)
- Lose the noises. (Snoring boyfriend, beeping outside, etc…) Try listening to a calming CD or wearing SleepPhones (SleepPhones.com).
- Limit eating right before bed. This gives your body time to digest before you try to sleep. (I can never do this, but someday!)
- Relax. Here’s a good exercise – curl your toes for 7 seconds, then relax. Repeat with all the muscle groups from your toes up through your neck.
- Take notes. Makes notes of how much caffeine you drink, your exercise, your food, when you go to bed and wake up, and the amount of time you sleep. (Then you can take this to a sleep specialist if you want to go that route.) You might notice some patterns.
- Stay cool. People sleep better when the room is cooler – 65 degrees or lower.
- Journal. Instead of having tons of thoughts running through your head just when you’re trying to get to sleep, try to journal about your day ~2 hours before bedtime. You can also try an imagery exercise – imagine something peaceful like getting a massage, or a walk on the beach. Over time this will become a signal for your brain to start settling down.
Some more suggestions have to do with making your bedroom more sleep-friendly.
- Hang curtains (lined ones) so that your room can be dark and peaceful.
- Proper nighttime lighting – try using a dimmer to set the mood for sleep – or other things
- Your color theme should be relaxing spa tones like a warm blue-grey, light khaki, muted green… No bright colors or strong patterns. Something as simple as throwing a nice neutral throw blanket on your bed would work.
- Nix the clutter – get a pretty hamper or bin to throw things in and get out of sight. This makes it easier for your brain to relax.
- Good sheets – try 300 count sheets or even 100% Egyptian cotton. (Anything more than 300-count doesn’t make a difference.)
- Move your work to another room! No phones, no computer. (If you can’t do this, at least cover up the computer with something, or maybe put a screen between the bed and your workstation.)
I think all of these suggestions are great. Moving the work area to another room is a big help. I also realized that I drink green tea throughout the day… probably too much. I should switch to white or decaf tea in the afternoon and evening. The clutter thing makes sense – I got a bin for Bobby to put his crap in so I don’t have to have it just lying around. I also turned on the air the other night (!) when it was hot. I usually try to never use the A/C at all… but if it’s gonna help me sleep, I’m up for trying it.
The best suggestion for me was to journal. The reason that I can’t fall back asleep is because my mind just starts to race, and I think about all the things that I need to do, that I haven’t done, the bills that need to be paid, the grocery list, the decisions I made earlier, what the next day is going to be like… it just gets crazy. But if I write these things down, they immediately stop bothering me.
Do you have any more suggestions?
I have some new veggies. I got these lemon cucumbers at the farmers’ market on Sunday:
Lemon cucumbers are a bit sweeter than normal cucumbers. The guy I bought it from said “you don’t even have to peel it!” I’ve been having the cucumbers raw, either dipped in salt or as a salad topping.
I still haven’t tried my bootylicious chayote, but maybe I’ll make it tonight.
I also got these Indian bitter melons:
But I chickened out. I cut them open, took one whif, and pitched them. I don’t like (actually despise) normal Chinese bitter melons and I wasn’t in the mood yesterday to be disappointed by my food.
In yoga news, I discovered yesterday that Cardio Yoga is back on On Demand! You can find it in the “Lose the last 5 pounds” section (or something like that). Cardio Yoga is my favorite Tom Morley video (20 minutes; vinyasa) and it’s actually the video that got me into yoga oh-so-long-ago (or last fall). I did it after my treadmill walk/run with Bobby. He woke up today with no back pain and credits it to the video. Every time he does yoga his back issues disappear almost immediately.
Today’s question is – what do you do to unwind/destress?
I’ve been talking a lot about food lately, but I’ve been exercising too. If you’re ever curious about what I do each day, check out my WORKOUT page. I list my daily workouts.
The past few weeks I’ve mostly been doing yoga and walking. Every since my Whole Life Challenge I’ve done yoga just about every day. I’ve been doing a morning flow – it varies between 25 and 35 minutes, and it’s all on my own. I set the timer and go. (Try this!)
As for walking, I’ve tried to get outside and walk at least once a day. Today I had to go to the post office, so I walked there and back (1 mile each way). I also had to pick up some groceries (I like to go often and only get a few items), so I walked to Han Kook and back (0.7 miles each way). I got in 3.4 miles of walking just by doing my errands.
On Saturday I tricked Bobby into going for a walk with me… it ended up being a 4 mile walk around the block. He was surprised at how easy it was to walk 4 miles, but he felt the effects the next day. He said his feet were really sore.
My new favorite yoga flow is this (repeat on each side):
- from standing, inhale chair, exhale on the right to twisting chair pose (3 breaths)
- look down, stepping the left foot back, revolving lunge (3 breaths; bind optional)
- cartwheel the hands and lower the back foot, warrior 2 (3 breaths)
- inhale to reverse warrior…
- exhale half moon, right foot standing (3 breaths)
- lower the left hand down, warrior 3 with hands down (2 breaths)
- lower the left leg and inhale to chair pose
- then exhale to mountain
- inhale chair, twist to the left, and repeat the sequence on that side…
Most of these pictures are of my yoga idol, Sadie Nardini. Next time I’m in New York I’m going to take one of her classes for sure. Until then, I guess I’ll have to continue doing her Youtube Videos.
I hope you get a chance to try this short flow – add it in to a quick morning routine. Start with some deep breathing, do a few simple sun salutations, do this flow, and follow it with some stretching on your mat. It’ll wake you up, I promise!
What’s your favorite flow?
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You’ve been there for me since I was little…
And I love you so much! It’s really hard being 3000 miles away, but I’m glad you came to visit me last November…
I hope you have a really wonderful day 🙂
Check out my dad’s buttermilk pancakes. He used to make these for us every Saturday morning. He should start a blog. He’s a great cook, he’s been running every other day (4 miles) since he was in high school, and he’s the perfect healthy role model. Maybe he’ll do a guest post someday.
Last night I made kabocha-ushi sushi yet again because we were having friends over for dinner and I needed a winning recipe. I bought 2 pounds of the $0.99/pound salmon at Han Kook (the ugly cuts that are leftover after they cut the sushi) and smeared it with a honey/mustard/lemon juice mixture. Then I baked the salmon at 350F for ~20 minutes on top of foil. When it came out I picked off all the meat and put it in a bowl. I may or may not have snitched some during this process – yum.
These were the toppings – lettuce for wrapping, jicama “rice”, sushi rice, cooked salmon, daikon sprouts, bacon bits, sauteed shredded kabocha with garlic, Costco rotisserie chicken, and soy sauce + wasabi for dipping. I also made a garlic bread (from the freezer). I now have even more kabocha converts. (FYI – this meal cost about $7 to feed 4 hungry people.)
For dessert we had Holey Donuts (review to come). Everyone loved the kabocha-ushi and the donuts. I was happy.
Not sure what my plans for today are… I might head over to the Mountain View farmers’ market this morning. I’ll do some yoga. I’ll probably walk. I’m tutoring a girl in pre-calc this afternoon. Bobby has to go to work so my day is pretty free.
Happy Father’s Day again! Go call your dad, or give him a hug if you’re lucky enough to see him today.
I think Bobby and I are going to start doing “Sushi Friday” every week. We did it yesterday and also last Friday (Bobby’s birthday) when my mom was here. I made kabocha-ushi and real sushi. This fushi stuff is my new obsession. Thanks Emily 🙂 We had:
- sashimi on the far right (tuna, salmon, and yellowtail pieces – precut from Han Kook)
- sushi rice (for Bobby – white rice + vinegar/sugar mix)
- seaweed (nori) and lettuce for wrapping
- jicama “rice”
- shredded kabocha + garlic, sauteed
- daikon sprouts
- bacon bits
- soy sauce + wasabi for dipping
I did not make enough of the fushi ingredients because I underestimated my white-carb-loving boyfriend. Bobby loved the shredded kabocha, loved the bacon bits, the sprouts, and he even loved the jicama rice. This is a boy who could live on white rice – I couldn’t believe he enjoyed my crazy version. He tried the wraps with regular rice and with the jicama and actually preferred the jicama rice for these wraps. He says it was very “fresh“. I’ll definitely be making this again.
When I was at Han Kook getting the sashimi and some groceries, I picked up this guy:
Heather had one the other day so I wanted to try it. It’s called a chayote. Chayote has a big booty. What should I do with it?
This morning Bobby and I went to the farmers’ market where we got these delicious yellow nectarines and yellow peaches – 3 pounds for $5.
My mom and I got them last week from the same place (we tried all of the stands and this one was the best). They’re really delicious. I like eating them when they’re still really firm, and so does Bobby, so we found the firmest ones possible.
In other news, I have a new layout! Thanks for the comments on it so far 🙂 Stop by and check it out to let me know what you think. Happy Saturday! What have you done so far this weekend? Remember to call your dad tomorrow 🙂