Getting the Most Out of REI Sleep CDs and programs
As much as the REI Sleep music can do to help you develop the brain patterns to sleep your best, your habits can play a significant role in how well, and for how long, this program works for you. This section details some healthy sleep habits that will ensure you get the most out of this program:
- Set a schedule: Going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday helps your body get into the rhythm of consis- tently sleeping well. This means not sleeping in on the weekends and not pulling all-nighters. Having a consistent bedtime also makes it easier for you to develop a consistent bedtime routine.
- Get enough exercise (at the right time of day): Exercise is essential for vitality and, when done at least 4 hours before bedtime, can help you get a more restful night’s sleep. Make regular exercise part of your day. Please consult your primary care physician to determine the best kind, duration, and intensity of exercise that’s best for you.
- Avoid brain altering substances: Drugs, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and sugar, may get you through the day, but they can wreak havoc on developing optimal sleep patterns. They can also interact negatively with the REI Sleep tracks (or at least render them ineffective). If you can’t cut them out altogether, try to avoid ingesting any of these substances within a few hours of going to bed.
- Avoid sleping pills: We recommend not using sleep medications (prescription or over-the-counter) at all while doing the REI Sleep Program, as they tend to disrupt the brain stimulation of the REI tracks. Most physicians don’t prescribe sleep medications for more than a few weeks duration anyway, so we strongly recommend putting these medications aside for the ten weeks of this program.
- Turn off the TV: Watching TV before bed, or worse yet, falling asleep to the TV, is not conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. Please avoid the TV before bed. If you must watch TV in the evening, we recommend turning it off at least 30 minutes before turning off the light (an hour or more is better). After you turn off the TV, take some time to engage in some relaxing activities and reading a book. Reading is a great way to help you get your brain ready for sleep. We recommend turning on the REI Sleep track during or after your reading session.
- Only use the bed for sleeping: Many people with sleep issues have developed bad habits and have negative associations with their bed or bedroom that can hinder their ability to sleep. Reserving the bed for only sleeping (or sex) can help you develop better associations with your bed and teach your body to relax when in bed, making it easier to sleep.
- De-stress and engage in calming activities: Reserve some time every evening for calming activities such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath. This helps calm your mind and body, making it easier to transition to sleep.
- Eliminate negative beliefs and associations: Most people with sleep issues have negative associations or beliefs about sleep that increase their stress around being able to get enough rest. Affirmations and lists can help greatly in these situations. Create affirmations that will help you change your negative beliefs into positive strengths. And rely on lists to appoint a specific time and day to tend to nagging or overwhelming tasks. You may also prefer to use the first track of REI Sleep Rhythms CD with Narration at bedtime to help you calm your mind and progressively alter your beliefs about going to sleep.
- Get your bedroom ready for a good night’s sleep: The best environment for sleep is a cool, dark, quiet place. Get some good bedding that is comfortable, sme blinds on your windows to block out as much light as possible and set the temperature to be cool (but not cold). If you live in a noisy place you may want to either wear ear plugs or use a white noise machine to mask the noise. If you choose either of these make sure tha you set the volume of the REI Sleep Program Bedtime tracks so that you can hear them.
- Don’t go to bed hungry or thirsty: For many people, a light snack or drink of water before bed can make it easier to fall sleep. If you do have a snack choose foods with high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, such as dairy products like milk and cheese, nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, peanuts, sesame or sunflower seeds, and meats, poultry, beans, and rice. Soy products and seafood are also high in tryptophan.
- Wait until you’re sleepy to go to bed: forget about the clock and wait until you’re tired before going to bed. Even though it may be later than you’d like, you’re more likely to fall asleep quickly and get more sleep than if you go to bed earlier when you aren’t tired in the hopes that you’ll get more hours in for sleep.
- Get out of bed if you can’t sleep: If you’re awake when the REI tracks are finished, get out of bed and read a book or meditate for a while until you feel sleepy again. Then get back in bed. You may turn on the Bedtime track again if you wish. Likewise, if you wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to get to sleep within 15-20 miutes, it’s best to get out of bed and read until you feel sleepy again. It's also okay to turn on any REI sleep track when you wake up to help you fall back asleep.