Episode 33

Unwind Part 2

Being told to “just relax” when you’re steaming is like pouring gasoline on a fire. How do you avoid the same pitfall when trying to relax when you’re too agitated to fall asleep?

After a little RAIN break last week to help us navigate the return to Daylight Savings, in this episode, I review a few more methods to unwind at the end of the day to assist in the transition from the busy of the day to the quiet calm of sleep.

In the same manner that there are environmental conditions that facilitate wake or facilitate sleep, you should consider whether your evening environment is helping or hurting that transition from wake to sleep. Is the environment conducive to slowing down, relaxing, and decreasing stimulation? Considering the optimal environment for sleep (cool, dark, quiet), what is an intermediary state of temperature, light, and noice between your environment midday and midnight?

There are many less physically arousing passive activities to engage in, including taking advantage of the time for hobbies. Stretching and partner massage can also feel great, as well as relax. Don’t forget to take turns!

Reading, writing, and mindfulness practices (formal or informal) are also great ways to transition. Stimulating your parasympathetic rest and digest system also greatly helps to unwind. Deep belly breathing and 1:2 ratio of inhale to exhale pursed lip breathing go a long way to apply those parasympathetic brakes to your stress response.

It is unpleasant to try crashing into sleep after feeling wired awake. A transition is in order. And there are lots of great ways to make that transition as soon as possible. Many of these strategies are great habits to have in general, and some can be implemented on an as-needed basis. Experiment to find out what works best for you. And have fun!


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