Two owls sitting on a branch, one reading and one meditating while wearing a night cap

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Is getting enough sleep an issue for you? It is for me. At night, the distractions of the day aren’t there to defend me against my thoughts.

Making matters even worse, I have A.D.D. so my mind whirls with a myriad of random musings and, for the last 9 years, leukemia has been added to the mix. Geez.

It used to take me an hour or more to fall asleep. I still sometimes stay up later than I should just to get sleepy enough to go to bed. That, of course, is not the healthiest way to solve a sleeping problem.

Tips for getting a good sleep

But I have discovered ways to overcome all this and get some sleep. At least sometimes. I can’t say they always work but they do help. Here are a few ideas.

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You don’t have to sit in the corner with legs crossed chanting ‘Ohmmmmm.” Instead, find a place at home where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. Take deep, relaxing breaths and let the thoughts that haunt you drift away. Try to just focus on your breathing. Don’t fight the thoughts though. Let them come then just keep breathing and let them go.

Public speakers often take a few deep breaths to relax before going on stage. If that helps them beat stage fright, why shouldn’t it work when all you’re trying to do is get some sleep?

Relaxing sounds

I found a great app called TaoMix 2. It lets me arrange little round icons on my phone’s screen. Each represents a different sound effect. Then a ball bounces randomly through each one. I set up Ocean Waves, River, Wind, and Thunder. Surprisingly, it isn’t annoying at all. I've come to focus on the soft sounds instead of life’s worries.


This is not one of my favorite things to do but when I manage to actually go to the gym or take a walk, I often find that sleep comes much easier. But don’t exercise just before bedtime; that definitely doesn’t work.

Eat well

If I don’t eat enough for dinner (a bad habit of mine) I usually wake up around 3 am starving and have to raid the fridge. That pretty much screws up my sleep for the night. You don’t have to eat a huge meal, just enough to tell your body you’ll survive until breakfast.


I mean read the old fashioned way, you know, with a real book–the kind with paper and ink. Remember those? I believe, for some people at least, flooding bright light from a Kindle or iPhone into your eyeballs does more to fire your brain up than relaxing it. Hey, I bet a really boring book would knock you out in no time!

I hope this helps. Cancer and the other worries of life often plot against us. I’m sure there are many other ideas to overcome this problem. What ways do you use to fall asleep?

Share your tips in the comments below!

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