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More Sleep Strategies

The sleep piece in the March 2011 issue of Workplace Wisdom received so many comments, chuckles, and questions in response that some additional suggestions seemed appropriate.

If you have trouble actually making it to bed at a reasonable hour:

Try scheduling shutdown time an hour before you’d like to hit the pillow. Yes, actually note it on your schedule. Do this every night until it becomes routine. Turn off all your screens. Read a bit, perhaps with a hot cup of tea. Watch the steam rise. Jot down a few notes on what you’d like to accomplish tomorrow. Write an entry in a gratitude journal or send someone a note of thanks. Tidy up. Stretch or meditate.

If the problem is falling asleep:

Make sure the room is dark and quiet – no blinking lights, no open screens, and shades or blinds pulled all the way down. A bit cooler is better than warmer, even if it means you need a heavier blanket. Consider earplugs if noises disturb you. Try to keep clutter to a minimum. If you have a workspace in your bedroom, try to screen it or cover it so it’s not sending out vibes calling for attention. The calmer the environment, the more conducive it will be to shut-eye. And this may sound silly, but be sure your toothpaste is a flavor you actually like.

If your brain just won’t stop running or if it wakes you with too many thoughts in the middle of the night:

Picture the dream you’d like to have. (This is called fantasizing! It’s really just dreaming awake, and leads nicely to dreaming asleep.) Try not to imagine anything too terrifying or overly exciting. Pleasantly stimulating is about the right level. Pleasantly soothing is even better.

Do a mental run-through of a fantastic tomorrow. Picture the events, and just how you want them to turn out. Edit yourself gently if you don’t like the picture you made, and DO IT OVER so you can really like it, feel satisfied, think, “There, that’s done,” and drift off to slumberland.

Tell your brain that you have a topic you’d like to delegate. (Daughter objects when I recommend having discussions with body parts, but I and many others have found that it increases the chances of getting the desired result when we speak to our brains both kindly and concretely.) Say something like, “Okay, Brain dear, you’ve got it now, and I’m going to get some rest.” Giving your brain a specific assignment may get you a useful dream, or a fresh idea might pop up as you’re starting your morning shower.

If you’re the kind who wakes up with ideas — keep a notepad or recorder within reach. Trying to sleep through strong ideas is very difficult, so take the three to five minutes to write or record them. Then, knowing that you’ve handled everything, you can sleep in good conscience.

Pleasant dreams… And if you have other suggestions, do share them — pleazzzzzzzzzzz.

Onward and upward,


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2 thoughts on “More Sleep Strategies

  1. Your post gave me a chuckle, Mark. Whether for beauty or brains, I agree wholeheartedly that short sleep results in crankiness. Maybe there were two different sleep segments because everyone had to turn over at the same time!

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