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At 9:30pm on any given Tuesday night, what I’d really like to do most in the world is watch just one more episode of House or Six Feet Under. However, lately I’ve been trying my very best to restrain myself. While the idea of Hugh Laurie in all his sexy scruffy limping genius being the very last thing I see before going to bed (meow), a six year old girl projectile vomiting blood is probably not the best image for a relaxing night’s sleep.
I don’t know how many hours of sleep Buddhist monks get, but I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to feel good during the day. If my pre-bedtime evening is anxiety-ridden, good sleep is just not gonna happen.

We spend so much time thinking about eating healthy, exercising, keeping our space clean. The idea of having good sleep hygiene is a term I only heard recently. Unlike my obsessive dental hygiene rituals (every night I brush my teeth with Sensodyne, floss with Glide, rinse with Act Restoring mouthwash, and rub my teeth with enamel paste – this isn’t as gross as it sounds) I’ve never paid much attention to the rituals surrounding my sleeping habits. Good sleep hygiene is something we tend to overlook.

Enjoy this free online flute music by Sri Chinmoy while you contemplate your own sleep habits. I find this kind of flute music to be very relaxing….feel yourself falling asleeeeep…so…calm…I’m melting…into a puddle…sigh…

Personally, I have sleeping issues, especially when I’m particularly anxious or stressed. Since taking a job that requires me to wake up at 6am and actually be alert and conscious by 8am (definitely not easy for someone in her early twenties), I’ve tried to pay closer attention to my pre-bedtime habits and identify ways to make my sleep hygiene better.

What I used to do before bed, and why this was a bad idea:

Talk on the phone

Possibility of becoming stressed out or overstimulated by a conversation

Do homework

Definitely overstimulating

Watch TV (ANYthing)

Too engaging, possibility of losing track of time and watching for too long, or watching shows that are too emotionally stimulating

Drink water or milk

Having to get up to go to the bathroom a million times

Organize/plan

Tendency to worry

Check e-mail/do research

Same as above

What I attempt to do now:

No phone calls after a certain time

No eating or drinking after a certain time

No e-mail/internet/blogging after a certain time

Only very light reading or light TV (i.e. not Six Feet Under or House)

Dim lamps

When I’m able to get a good night’s sleep, my day is so much better. One thing I haven’t had the discipline to change is sleeping late on the weekends. The experts say that you should stick to one sleeping schedule, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends and vacations. I simply can’t do that at this point – my enjoyment of staying up late and sleeping late is too great to give this up yet.

What are your bedtime rituals? Do you have good sleep hygiene?

For sleep hygiene resources, check out these websites:

http://www.umm.edu/sleep/sleep_hyg.htm

http://www.sleepeducation.com/Hygiene.aspx

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/site/c.huIXKjM0IxF/b.2422637/k.5B7E/Ask_the_Sleep_Expert_Sleep_Hygiene.htm

Oh, and enjoy this in the meantime:

hughlaurieDoesn’t he seem to be saying… “dude, just freaking go to bed already”?

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