How to get back to sleep

For me its often easy to get to sleep but I wake up numerous times during the night.  Many people understand how important sleep is in bodybuilding for not only muscle gain but for sleep loss as well.  The problem is that they are busy and they stress out about getting enough sleep which makes getting enough quality sleep even MORE difficult!  Does this sound like you?  First, please read how to sleep better, it contains many basic pointers.   Thats not always enough though, here are some techniques that work well for me.

What I use is a very simple technique (its the only meditation technique I know) called “following your breath”. Basically you just try to focus on the air rushing in and the air rushing out while you take slow, deep breaths. If you mind starts to think about other things, you just gently push the thoughts aside. I often count the breaths too, starting with 100 and counting down. Its truly amazing how difficult it is even to get thru ten counts without having to push some spurious “I-have-to-do-this” or “I’m-worried-about-that” thoughts out of your brain. I like the counting because it helps give my mind another distraction. When I am really having a hard time, I count down in another language. Because it requires much more concentration for me, it makes it much easier to keep the troubles of the day from interfering with me falling asleep. I either count down from 100 in German, or if I am REALLY having a hard time then Spanish which is really difficult for me.

Another thing I do that has really decreased my “sleep-stress” way down to nothing isnt practical for most people. I used to stress about getting enough sleep.

“If I dont sleep, I wont have a good workout tomorrow and I might even get SICK” … clamp the eyes shut like a vice, grind the teeth, and repeat  “I HAVE TO SLEEP, I HAVE TO SLEEP” – doesnt work!

What I do to avoid this is to just go to be way early. I try to allow 9 hours of bed time for 7-8 hours of sleep. The older you get, the more you wake up during the night so I just deal with it. Rather than stressing about getting back to sleep when I wake up during the night, I embrace it. I love reading and always have a dozen books on my iPad to read. I have no time for reading during the day so my reading time is when I wake up at night. That way, being awake at night is no longer a curse, its a blessing for me because I get to READ! As a suggestion, horror books and thrillers are best to be avoided at night :)

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