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My Relationship with Sleep

The Struggle & Some Solutions

sunny 40 °F

As far back as I can remember, sleeping never came easy.

I remember tip-toeing the hallway of Nonnie and Pepes sleeping house, the only noise being the clink-clink-clink of the dining room clock. I remember setting up pillows and blankets next to Mom and Dads bed, or outside their door....not to sleep, but to silently put on shows for them (as they slept) with my stuffed animals. I remember being the instigator at every single sleepover, just to keep my playmate having fun. If we were being silly, they wouldn't go to sleep and leave me as the only one awake in the house. And let's not even get into the sleep-walking adventures, mid-sleep laughing fits and lengthily conversations I'll have while in dreamland.

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Nighttime routines helped a lot. When I was little my dad and I always had the same exchange of words after I was tucked in. He would rub my back in familiar patterns, all giving me a sense of security and helping me relax. As I grew up I slowly started to figure it out bit by bit. I would come up with my own routines. In relationships, I fear the other person has always had their share of gentle elbows waking them up for one last reassuring 'goodnight' or 'i love you'.

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More recently, as training has increased I have found that I am unable to maintain my day to day if my sleep gets foxed with. Not willing to compromise training, recovery, or you know.....all the critical functions that sleep enables like hormone regulation, immune function, repairing cells and tissues, integrating new information and organizing long-term memories. I decided it was time to really address this chronic issue.

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I can't tell you how many great friends and amazing people have helped me the past few weeks try and tackle this thing. Your suggestions, similar experiences and home remedies have made quite the difference. So, it is here that I will compile them and pay it forward to someone else.

Rest Easy My Dear

1. Plan Your Sleep.
Determine how much sleep you need and what time you need to wake up. Figure out a 'bedtime'.

2. Create a Bedtime Ritual:
The trick here, is make it one that you can do independently, and anywhere. This will help make transitioning to travel no big deal.

3. Un-Plug.
Start a “slowdown” process in the evening by turning off computers, and TVs. Yes, even try to push the cell phone away. (Work in progress on this one)
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4. Set the Mood
Turn off any harsh or bright lighting. Dim lights will start to slow down your busy brain.

5. Your Belly.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Even when you are to the point that you would wrestle a grandma to the road for her cup o' joe....It will not be worth it later (both the coffee and the taking down of grandma) This one is a work in progress for me too.
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6. Body Clock
Waking at a similar time each day, including weekends will help train your body to stay on a sleep schedule. It seems to be working...hence, why I just happened to wake up at 6:30am today, a Saturday. Now I will drink my fair share of 'Morning Only' coffee and blog about sleeping. Hmm....

7. Wine or Tea.
There is nothing wrong with a glass of red wine a couple hours before bed. Have it with dinner, and really enjoy that time. I've been having wine a few nights a week and the others I'll have sleepy-time tea. Mostly as an experiment to see which works better. Or, let's be real, sometimes both ; )

8. Melatonin
I'm putting this one on the list, but I personally don't think it is a great idea for everyday use. I'll only use it to aid in sleeping after I've jumped timezones for travel.

9. Monkey Mind
If your mind is running in circles as you are laying in bed. It's not going to stop. Give yourself 5 minutes to write down anything and everything that is proving to be important to your mind. Make your to-do list, write down your concerns, list out things in your life that need resolution and how to get there, make your grocery list...whatever. Get it out of your head.
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10. P.O.M
"Peace Of Mind" Remind yourself the value of today being today and tomorrow being tomorrow. Everything will happen in the pace it is supposed to. So no stressing, just get the F to sleep.

Well. Not the typical entry, but you know.
It's something I've been wanting to get out there.
Next up will be a whirlwind of life announcements, embarrassing stories and who knows.

Countdown:
Today is important. Let's keep our minds here today.

Quote of the Moment:
"Action expresses priorities" Mahatma Gandhi

Here's to peace, resting well and mobility,
Aubs

Posted by AubreyJ 07:49 Archived in USA Tagged travel training resting fitness action health healthy recovery triathlon caffeine priorities sleep_problems emotional_wellbeing

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