Ever since I've started writing about the Sleep Challenge, I keep running into people who have taken a strong interest in my sleeping habits -- and seem committed to helping me stick to my sleep goal.
Sunday night, I went to the HBO Golden Globes party at the Beverly Hilton. It was a lively celebration, the spirit unhampered by the un-Los Angeles-like rainstorm that had people crowding into the covered areas of the party, which was set up around the hotel's pool area.
As the night wore on, people kept coming up to me, glancing at their watches, and wondering how much longer I planned to stay and whether I was going to be able to get my 8 hours. I felt like I was a kid on a school night -- with dozens and dozens of mothers (or at least very elegantly dressed baby sitters), all anxious about me keeping my sleep commitment.
Luckily, the Golden Globes actually start at 5 pm Pacific time, and the after-parties are in full swing by 8:30. So I was able to have interesting conversation with Marty Scorsese, George Lucas, Alfre Woodard, and almost the entire casts of Entourage and Hung -- and still make it to bed in time to get my full 8.
Along with the sleep police, I'm also regularly approached by people asking me which of the many tips provided by our sleep experts I've found the most useful.
While I've tried out most of the suggestions, here are my favorites:
I got a new pillow. And a new pillowcase.
I've tried to treat bedtime as an important appointment, instead of an afterthought.
I made my bedroom darker.
I added magnesium to my supplement routine.
I've practiced deep breathing before bed, taken a warm nighttime bath when I've had time, and tried to exercise every day.
I've also banished my Blackberries to another room at night.
And while I'm still fighting the caffeine battle, I have dramatically cut down on coffee after noon.
How about you? Which tips have you made part of your sleep ritual?
More on Dreams and Dreaming: My last post about my newly compelling dream life prompted a number of interesting reader comments.
Payam Ghassemlou Ph.D quoted Rumi, who taught: 'There is a basket of fresh bread on your head, and yet you go door to door asking for crusts. Knock on your inner door. No other.' According to Dr. Ghassemlou, "We knock on our inner door by honoring our dreams."
Kelly Bulkeley wrote, "I appreciate the reference to Egyptian practices of dream incubation. Although modern society has no comparable temples to the deities of dreaming, people today still find spiritual insight and deeper self-awareness in their dreams. Indeed, this is perhaps one of the mostly widely shared beliefs across all different religious traditions: dreaming is one of the ways humans commune with greater-than-human powers."
And one of our sleep experts, Dr. Michael Breus, commented: "You have also now reached a second benefit of sleep: dreaming. Just like with the increase in your exercise performance you are now going to see an increase in your dreaming performance. Why is this important? Because we think dreaming (most often in REM sleep) helps consolidate your memories. So what might that mean for you? You will begin to see an improvement in your overall memory and your ability to organize your thoughts, and maybe in getting things done!" And he promised, "In my next post everyone will learn more about why they dream, if they dream, and even how to influence the content of their dreams."