What's Your Sleep Strategy?
By Sheryl Kraft
Lately, the minute my head touches the pillow at night, I'm asleep. But it's not always like this; I figure I'm just going through a lucky phase. More often, sleep is elusive, especially since passing through menopause. If you regularly have problems falling asleep, you may want to find out more about sleep disorders.
By now, I have hundreds upon hundreds of ideas in my arsenal for getting myself to drift off. Think about it this way: for each year of life, if you get an average of eight hours sleep a night, by the time you've hit 40 you've spent nearly 116,800 hours snoozing. And by the time you hit 50 that number jumps to almost 120,000 hours. So, it makes sense that with age comes a lot of practice in the art of falling off to slumber.
I've decided to play a game with myself and review some of these getting-to-sleep strategies and share them with you. I've tried everything from sipping chamomile tea to sleeping with socks on; from reciting the alphabet forward and backward to counting backward from 300 by 3s (not as simple as it sounds but very effective.) And after receiving a product called (aka a "sleep assistant"), I realized that I've never used that method before. The method, you ask?
A gentle, blue-ish light that oscillates seven ways in seven-minute cycles and acts as a "visual metronome" to which you can synchronize your breathing and invoke a relaxation response. The nice thing about the battery-operated device is that it's very small and can easily travel anywhere with you. It's totally silent; all you have to do is place it near your bed so that the light projects onto the ceiling or wall. I tried it for the first time last night—and had a good laugh when my dog, who is old and has a bad heart which causes her to pant a lot (especially at night), became quickly mesmerized by the sight of the light. Almost instantaneously, her breathing slowed.
Share your favorite remedy for falling asleep.