When love suddenly leaves, your ability to get a good night’s rest may depart, too. That’s why one of the first “Tips” in our How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days book provides carefully researched advice on how to get enough sleep -— see “Day 4″. We noted there that Dr. William Dement, a Stanford University Professor widely known as one of the world’s leading authorities on sleep, said that, “there is plenty of compelling evidence supporting the argument that sleep is the most important predictor of how long you will live, perhaps more important than whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.”
We also advised that “to stay mentally and physically fit, you need to get a good rest every night of the week. For most, that means seven and a half to eight uninterrupted hours of sleep…self-induced fatigue can be deadly, if it prevails too long. It can impair your judgment, your driving skills, your impulse control, shorten your patience in the face of such stresses as divorce negotiations, and to untypical outbursts of temper that can result in consequences that can damage you for years to come.”
We noted that lots of simple steps can help promote rest: good gear, like a comfortable mattress and pillow, a dark, quiet bedroom, no caffeine after noon, eating a before-bedtime snacking on foods rich in tryptophan, like fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, avocados, bananas, and wheat germ.
We’d now like to add that you need to avoid dwelling on what you’ve lost after you turn out the lights at bedtime. Nothing can make you toss and turn more than such anguished reflections.
I’ve found that I can almost always go to sleep swiftly just by steering my thoughts to pleasant shores. My trick is to repeatedly replay a happy “wish fulfillment” fantasy. Night after night, I rehearse the same imaginary scenario in all of its details. In no time at all, I become pleasantly bored and drift off to sleep.
I would caution you to aviod building your fantasies around sexual exploits. It’s too soon for that if you’re still suffering heartache. Try to imagine winning praise as a hero, going on a great vacation, getting promoted, or winning a new car instead.
If you’re taking new medications to deal with anxiety, ask your physician if side effects might be responsible for your difficulty in falling to sleep. Another trick: megadoses of Vitamin B1 can help some folks to sleep more deeply and easily. And don’t try using alcohol to induce slumber: its solace is addictive and can actually prevent you from getting the kind of REM sleep that you need.
For those who happen to be fans of yoga, just imagine that your breath has turned into steam and watch it evaporate every time you breathe out. Keep your eyes closed, of course. You’ll probably find it so boring, you’ll be asleep in no time.
Bona dormire (Latin for “may you now get a good night’s sleep”): Mike Riley