Tips for sleeping better at home, away
Here are some simple things you can do to get a better night's rest
I don't know a single person of a certain age at the West Linn Adult Community Center or elsewhere who thinks he or she gets a really good night's sleep.
If they are lucky, they get one good night's sleep every 10 nights. People often wake up, use the bathroom, get a drink and then stare at the ceiling or toss and turn.
I have come to think that only those who chop wood for hours during the day get a really good night's sleep. Of course, we who think we are awake all night might be wrong.
My sister was sure she was awake for hours and hours, but my other sister loaned her a watch that kept track of such things, and it proved she actually did sleep for eight hours. She was surprised, to say the least. Apparently, we do maintain some resting ability without feeling like we are asleep.
When I work as a tour leader, I usually initiate a conversation about how to get a better night's sleep after the second night on the road.
Tour participants and my friends at the WLACC have had some good suggestions, some of which work. Rejecting suggestions for medications, we shared other possible plans of action to ensure a good night's sleep.
No coffee after lunch is a common suggestion; no alcohol after the 4 p.m. Happy Hour gets less support, but either drink will keep you awake later, or wake you up after midnight. Try Sleepy-Time tea. Some drink nothing after the evening meal. Of course, if you want to wake up early in the morning, drink all you want!
No snacking after the evening meal is a good idea, as that may cause indigestion. Someone suggested no sugary foods in the evenings, but it's hard to give up dessert.
To get a better night's sleep while vacationing, keep your night routine the same as at home. Turn off any electronics for your last waking half-hour and sit quietly. Get your clothes or other items you will need tomorrow in order. Catch up in your journal or "to do" list. Keep your room temperature cool. Take a bath or hot shower. Maybe add some background noise, or silence your phone.
Get comfortable and focus your attention on your contact points with the bed, starting at the heels and working up the body. Review your gratitude list of the day. Pray.
Prayer is high on the list for many people. Maybe a rosary or other memorized scripture like the Psalms will come to mind. Praying the alphabet was another suggestion; think of a person or issue beginning with each letter and apply your heartfelt good wishes. I have tried that and seldom get to Z before making my own zzzs.
Face it. We just don't always get a restful night. Give yourself permission for a nap the next day.
The lunch menu this week features sausages, baked beans, peas and pumpkin cookies on Friday, July 13; chicken parmesan, garlic butter pasta, green beans and cream puffs on Monday, July 16; and chicken noodle soup, turkey sandwiches and brownies on Wednesday, July 18.
The WLACC is located at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn. Call 503-557-4704 to learn more.
Mary Jean Rivera is a volunteer and participant at the WLACC.