How to Fall Asleep Faster, Sleep Better Throughout the Night and Wake Up Rested
Some of us sleep like rocks, while others can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep or toss and turn all night long.
I took a poll several weeks ago and 90% of the Cultivate Balance Community said that they had trouble sleeping! What means at some point, almost everyone doesn’t sleep well.
As for my house, Zack hates going to bed but after he is sleeping, he usually sleeps through the night. I, however, am the opposite. I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. . . but sometimes when 2:30am rolls around my circadian rhythms get my brain rocking and rolling for the day and I am wide awake.
Why do we wake up in the middle of the night?
Why can’t we fall asleep?
Or stay asleep?
How can we get rid of negative thoughts at bed time?
I invited Janet Whalen onto the ‘Cultivate with Sarah Zastrow’ podcast to teach us all about sleep. She teaches us that when we have bad thoughts about bedtime or sleep in general, it inadvertently teaches our brains to hate sleep and therefore we dread it and do not sleep well.
Janet Whalen is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Certified Coach and a Life coach through The Life Coach School. She teaches women to sleep better with her online course and coaching programs. She gave us so many helpful sleep strategies and life hacks to help us sleep better, rest easier, and feel good about our sleep patterns.
Listen to the whole episode HERE
She says, the most important thing we can do to train ourselves to sleep better is to wake up at the same time every day. Humans cannot actually catch up on sleep so sleeping in on the weekends only throws our sleep schedule out of whack. It creates what Janet calls a “Lifestyle Jetlag”.
If we sleep in for two hours on the weekends, it has the same affect as flying from Eastern Standard Time to Mountain Time every single weekend. This would definitely cause jet lag and thus we are constantly tired.
By waking up at the same time every day it causes sleep pressure or the mechanism that makes us tired and tells us that it is time to fall sleep. We need to this in order to fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.
The next thing Janet says to do it is think positive thoughts at bed time. Trade your negative feelings around sleep and bedtime with thoughts like: this bed is comfortable , I am relaxed and calm. We can also choose to imagine ourselves in a relaxing place or do a body scan, deep breathing or meditation to help us ease into sleep.
If we wake up in the middle of the night, the best thing to do is state the facts instead of judging ourselves and trying to bargain our way back to sleep. By simply saying “I am awake and most people are sleep” then we don’t feel the shame and judgement of “I am awake again, I am terrible at this, I can never sleep, this is stupid, if I fall back asleep now, I can still get four hours of sleep”.
One thing that she suggests and not surprisingly worked really well for me is to get up and do something relaxing. Usually I get up in the middle of the night because of stiffness or pain and it helps me to get up and do something. Sometimes, I read or choose to organize something or pick a relaxing activity like knitting or coloring. It not only helps our mind to slow down but it loosens up tight muscles and stiffness if you are a chronic pain sufferer.
3 Mindset Shifts for Better Sleep If You Have Pain
1: We don’t have to earn sleep; it is not a reward for productivity or a day well done
2: Even if you can only lightly sleep or doze off throughout the night, that’s still helpful for our bodies, you don’t need 8 hours of perfect deep, uninterrupted sleep
3: Sleep will be easier if you exercise during the day, address your stress before bedtime, and stop judging yourself
4 Things to think about when you are trying to fall asleep: