Pil­low talk

Stop wor­ry­ing about getting a good night’s sleep.

ELLE (Canada) - - Guide -

BY NOW, EV­ERY­BODY KNOWS how es­sen­tial sleep is to health, your men­tal state and even your skin. But try telling your­self that when you’re wide awake at 3 a.m. Here’s the thing, though: No one has ever died from a night of in­som­nia. “Peo­ple think ‘If I have a bad night’s sleep, all these bad things are go­ing to hap­pen to me,’” says Alanna McGinn, founder of Good Night Sleep Site. “Take that pres­sure off your­self.” To avoid the temp­ta­tion of check­ing the clock ev­ery 30 min­utes, McGinn rec­om­mends turn­ing it around or stash­ing your phone on the other side of the room. “The only time you need to know is the time you go to bed.”

IN THE A.M. Ac­cord­ing to McGinn, a good night’s sleep starts the mo­ment you wake up. Write down mo­ti­va­tional say­ings like “I love my bed and I love sleep­ing in it” or “I’m go­ing to sleep so well tonight” on Post-its and stick them on your fridge or mir­ror. We know it’s corny, but re­peat­ing these mantras will (even­tu­ally—re­mem­ber it takes three weeks for a habit to form) trick your brain into think­ing you’re a good sleeper.

AT NIGHT Deep-breath­ing tech­niques work. McGinn’s favourite is a four-seven-eight for­mat: Breathe in for four sec­onds, hold your breath for seven sec­onds and let it all out for eight sec­onds. Re­peat. And skip the mid­night snack: Eat­ing wakes up your me­tab­o­lism, which will keep you awake too. Not to men­tion that any night­cap could mean you’re up in the mid­dle of the night. AT YOUR 9-TO-5 Sched­ule a per­sonal pause. Part of the rea­son our trou­bles seem to blast on re­peat as soon as we lie down is be­cause we’ve been avoid­ing our feel­ings all day, says McGinn. “In­stead of push­ing wor­ries and anx­i­eties aside and hav­ing them flood your brain at night, give your­self a minute or two a few times a day to think about them.” Bet­ter yet, mull these feel­ings over when you’re at the gym—reg­u­lar ex­er­cise re­duces stress (an in­som­nia trig­ger) and may even help reg­u­late your cir­ca­dian clock. Just don’t do it too close to bed­time or you’ll be up all night.

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