4 Tips For A Better Sleep When Your Mind Won't Shut Down


4 Tips For A Better Sleep When Your Mind Won't Shut Down

While studies show that women need more sleep than men, women also are known for being able to function on little sleep. They're often the ones called on to care for children during the night, to get up early to fix lunches, to stay up late with sick kids, and so forth. Additionally, because women deal with life stress differently then men, they often have trouble falling asleep once they do get into bed. For example, they often spend time worrying about their to-do lists, and will wake up in the middle of the night to obsess about the items on the list!

In order to help women sleep more, and better, there are a few tips they can follow:


1. Give yourself worry time: Set aside one hour, once or twice a day, away from bed time and sex to compartmentalize from the rest of the day so you don't rain on your parade. It's totally normal to worry about things! And while we shouldn't obsess about the issues in our lives that cause us stress, we shouldn't ignore them either. Otherwise, they play out in our subconscious, keeping us up all night. This is why I recommend people spend time during the day (not close to bedtime) thinking through issues that are stressful to them. Come up with a plan if you need to. Tackle the issues that you can, and practice letting go of those that you can't. By relegating these worries to a specific time of day, your subconscious will feel like they've been dealt with and will be less likely to pester you with them when you try to sleep.

2. Do grateful exercises: This is an appreciation exercise - remember what you have so you can let the "small stuff" go. Conversely, think about things for which you are grateful. This will help get your mind in a less tense state.

3. Have a bedtime routine and bedtime ritual to get you in the mood for "sleep." Get yourself to shift gears, wind down, be in the moment and worry free. Make sure this routine doesn't include anything stressful or upsetting - no news, or violent TV shows. If you're reading, be sure if's a relaxing book. Practice switching gears, shutting off, and being in the moment. Go to bed close to the same time each night, and try to go to bed at the same time as your partner. This will give you a chance to connect and release the positive hormone, oxytocin the cuddle hormone, that comes from cuddling and snuggling with your partner.

4. Don't sleep in separate bedrooms! Couples that think sleeping apart may be the key to blissful sleep usually end up worse off. It's important to be able to feel your partner close to you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep, cuddle up and sneak in a hug to help you feel bonded, comforted and relaxed.

This helps you separate sex from the worries from the day, sex is that glue that can keep you worry-free, which I talk about in my book Make Up Don't Break Up.

Ask your family to cooperate with you in these efforts so you can learn to shift gears, shut off, let go and compartmentalize your problems from other times.

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Dr. Bonnie Weil


Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil
Relationship and Family Therapist

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: PhD
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