Saturday, March 26, 2005

How Do You Sleep? 

Gothamist, the official website of the first person plural and general resource for all thing New Yorkish since the death of, well, NewYorkish, occasionally takes time out from telling us which subway line caught on fire or shorted out or had a tree fall on it to answer reader questions.

Recently, I came upon their answer to a reader suffering from constant, recurring insomnia (tried blogging?). I present, slightly edited, Gothamist's response, prefaced with the reminder that is from a website dedicated to exploring and explaining the fundamentally unique character of the city of New York:

*If you smoke, quit.
*You have to cut back on caffeine. It's a vicious cycle - you can't sleep, you drink more coffee, you can't sleep. You might feel worse in the short term without a heavy dose of caffeine, but once you break the cycle, it will help. Also, drink lots of water.
*Exercise - Any sort of vigorous exercise is great for helping with getting enough sleep - just make sure not to it right before bedtime.
We also find yoga classes/videos helpful - you can get Yoga videos that are specifically labeled "relaxing," "PM Yoga" and such.
*Try having a relaxing beverage before bedtime, like a cup of non-caffeinated herbal tea (chamomile is known for its relaxing properties). Some people swear by milk (especially warm milk), and others say having one drink (like a glass of wine) works well. Just make sure to keep it to one glass and not have it too close to bedtime (try about an hour beforehand).
*Don't eat late at night - try to eat dinner at a reasonable hour and don't snack before bed. Also, make sure you eat enough at dinner so that you're not hungry and thinking about food at bedtime.

Great suggestions all -- and so New York! My favorite one is giving up coffee and cigarettes for yoga and herbal tea. But I think there are a few very important suggestions they missed:

*Spend more quiet evenings at home, by yourself, listening to soothing "smooth jazz." Late nights and loud music can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle!
*Don't eat greasy or unhealthy foods -- like pizza, cheesecake, hot dogs, pastrami, and, uh, shawarma, and, I don't know, bagels. Or chinese. MSG, you know.
*Find religion. A sincere, heartfelt belief in the Lord will ease your mind in troubled times, and Christ shall lead you to restful slumber.
*Try speaking in low, measured tones, be careful to always be polite, and cut out those swear words! These simple steps, while they may not seem to be related to sleep, can make you a more relaxed, pleasant person, and that type never has trouble sleeping.
*Watch more NASCAR.
*Move to the suburbs. Or L.A.. The weather's always perfect!

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