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1. Are you ingesting too much caffeine before bed?
Check how much chocolate, coffee, regular or green tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and alcohol you consume late in the day. These items speed up your heart rate and can keep you awake.

2. Is your bedroom dark enough?
Your eyes need full darkness to relax completely and allow your optic nerve to relax. The optic nerve carries visual messages to your brain even when there’s the tiniest bit of light and your eyes are closed. When the optic nerve relaxes, your whole nervous system can relax, allowing you to get a good sleep.

So unplug night-lights, cover up the display on your digital clock, make sure you have no other light sources showing inside your bedroom, and get blinds or curtains that totally block light from outside your window....

3. Are you setting your brain on fire with TV or web news, violent or exciting shows, or reading thrillers right before bed?
Author and speaker Jack Canfield explains that, while you sleep, your brain spends the night replaying whatever you watched or read during the evening. So if you think you’re relaxing to the 11 o’clock news, guess what? You’re taking it
all to bed with you.

Try soft music, comedy, an inspiring book, prayer, meditation, or quiet time instead. Your eyes, brain, and body need to gear down in the evening before going to bed.

4. Is your bedroom full of scented products, candles, plastic bags, magazines and books?
Sleep time is when your body recovers from the stresses of the day. When your bedroom is full of chemical smells and scents from candles, air fresheners, pot pourri, mothballs, plastics, ink (in the books and mags), personal care products and cleaning products, these items stress your body all night so it can’t relax. Yes, even if your products are in a plastic jar or bottle with the lid on, they are still releasing molecules into your bedroom air.

Don’t believe me? Try this test: Collect everything on the list above along with dry-cleaned clothes, and move it out of your bedroom for a week. At the end of the week, move it back in. You will definitely notice how the air quality gets worse.

If you want to keep some of this stuff in your room, store it in a large glass jar or a big tin with a tight-fitting lid (like those huge tins of popcorn you see around Christmas time.) Just keep one or two books or magazines you’re currently reading in your bedroom and put the rest somewhere else along with the dry-cleaned clothes.

5. Are your bedding and sleepwear keeping you awake?
Lots of people don’t even know their body is at war with their bedding or sleepwear all night. Chemical cleaners, pesticides, or retardants in the fabrics can stress your nervous system and wreck your sleep. You could be reacting to
feathers, down, synthetic fabrics, fireproofed or stain-proofed bed coverings, fabric softener, scented detergents, or the electrical field of your electric blanket or waterbed.

Try sheets, blankets, and nightwear made from natural fibers like cotton, linen, hemp, wool, or silk, and wash them with natural and unscented laundry products. Use plain vinegar in the final rinse instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets. Unplug or get rid of your electric blanket—it interferes with your body’s natural electrical patterns. Try a hot-water bottle and a silk-stuffed duvet or wool blankets instead.

6. Are you worrying and anxious?
Worry and anxiety will definitely ruin your sleep. Everyone has trouble sleeping occasionally because of specific worries like an upcoming presentation, exam or job interview, or a family problem. But with chronic insomnia there may also be chronic anxiety. Learning how to lower your general level of anxiety will help.

Here are some proven methods for dealing with anxiety:

  • Tapping with EFT—the Emotional Freedom Techniques®. For help with this, check out our video and The Anxiety Buster™ CD which teaches you natural ways to deal with anxiety, including EFT. You can also tap directly on having insomnia.
  • Meditating, especially with Centerpointe’s Holosync® meditation CD’s
  • Exercise, especially during the day. When you don’t exercise or at least walk, your body feels restless and uncomfortable which increases anxiety. But don’t exercise right before bed since it can wake you up too much.
  • Laughing! It’s hard to be anxious while you’re having a good laugh. Laughter boosts the immune system, stimulates the release of endorphins (happy brain chemicals), balances your brain so you can think more clearly, and gives all your organs a beneficial massage just like exercise does (so you'll be tired in a good way.) So add some funny books to your library, watch comedies, and find ways to laugh about life.

Karen Alison

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Comments (3)

  1. shelagh blenkarn

great reminders!

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  1. Maryleah Otto

Very good suggestions. If only I didn't have to get up during the night to urinate (I'm 82) I'd sleep better but once I'm awake, it's hard to get back to sleep.

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  1. Herb

You have some interesting information and good advice on your website, Karen. I particularly like the Better Sleep Quiz -- for me, a few reminders of what I should be doing! It'll take me a good five minutes to turn off the myriad computer...

You have some interesting information and good advice on your website, Karen. I particularly like the Better Sleep Quiz -- for me, a few reminders of what I should be doing! It'll take me a good five minutes to turn off the myriad computer lights, phone screens,radio and clock lamps...

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