“Sleep is the best meditation.” Dalai Lama
Sleeping well has always been one of my super strengths. I’m just really good at it, and I often feel that most of my best creative ideas are formed when I’m snoozing away. Rebecca, on the other hand, has often struggled to get a good night’s sleep.
We know that sleep is a crucial factor in mental and physical wellbeing. Having difficulty sleeping can lead to irritability and moodiness, decreased alertness, impaired memory and cognitive functioning-all of which can impact many areas in your life.
Because so many of our clients report difficulty sleeping, I have been looking into easy and effective ways to improve sleep habits. I found a great new app, “Sleep Cycle”, which can track your sleep patterns and identify sleep phases by tracking movements in bed.
You can set your alarm to wake you up when you are in light sleep, not in the deep REM-sleep, where you are dreaming up new ideas. The app actually makes a really cool graph-you can see the ebb and low of how you are sleeping and monitor it over time. You can also track your resting heart rate and mood upon awakening. Check it out at http://www.sleepcycle.com/
Other tips to improve sleep include spending more time outside in daylight and get some exercise-natural mood boosters!. Then try relaxing bedtime activities instead of TV or computer viewing, which can actually rev you up, not get you ready for bed. Try reading a book or magazine by a soft light and avoid back-lit e-readers, they are too bright.
You can also consider taking a warm bath, listening to music, doing some easy stretches, winding down with art journaling or writing, making simple preparations for the next day, or even listening to relaxation or mediation CDs or apps. Then, when it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is really dark. Don’t forget to block light from electrical displays-I always lean a book over the cable box clock so it’s not glowing all night.
Rebecca manages her sleep by winding down for a couple of hours before bed by stretching while watching a movie or TV show, not eating or drinking 3-4 hours before bed, playing white noise (ocean sounds or rain) in the bedroom, and avoiding alarm clocks if at all possible so that she wakes up when her body says it’s time to do so. Click here to find more good tips to help the sleep deprived.
Positively, Gioia and Rebecca
Fold a large piece of paper in half. On one side, draw or collage about what it’s like when you have not gotten the shut-eye you needed, and feel tired, groggy or fatigued. On the other side make art about what it’s like when you are fully rested, restored and you have slumbered as much as you wished. If you would like, after you’ve finished, write about differences in the art and differences you might have observed in yourself when you were doing the different sides. We’d love to hear-post comments or images on our Facebook page!