Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep

Few of us get the optimal amount of sleep that we need. If we’re depressed, we often over sleep, but don’t feel rested. Or we might have the habit of packing as much as we can into each day, staying up late and rising early to do as many activities as we can possibly squeeze into the day. Neither situation is good, but depriving ourselves of sleep takes a toll on our wellbeing, which can have very serious consequences for our job performance, driving skills, relationships, health, and happiness.

This month’s issue of Mindful magazine has “Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep,” excerpted from Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time by Rick Hanson.

I agree with the author that “two things get in the way of sufficient sleep: not setting enough time aside for it, and not having deep and continuous sleep during the time allotted.”[1]

I encourage you to put on your comfy pajamas, grab your teddy bear, and read the entire article for yourself. But if you’re feeling sleepy now, here’s a quick synopsis—you can read the details after you’re refreshed by a great night’s sleep!

  1. Decide on how much time you want to set aside for sleep each night. Work backwards from your wake-up time and plan what you need to do during the hour before your bedtime to get to sleep on time.
  2. Observe the “reasons” that come up to stay up past your bedtime. Prioritize. What’s more important, your health and well-being—or (fill in the blank)?
  3. Really enjoy feeling rested and alert when you get enough sleep.You’ll be motivated to do it again!
  4. Consider the advice of organizations like the National Sleep Foundation: In the last hour or two before bedtime, relax; don’t eat, drink coffee or alcohol, exercise, or smoke; keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, with a good mattress, and use earplugs if your partner snores.
  5. Do what you can to lower stressChronic stress increases hormones like cortisol, which will make it hard to fall asleep or wake you up early in the morning.
  6. Make a deal with yourself to worry or plan in the morning. Focus on things that make you feel happy and relaxed, or the sensations of breathing. Bring to mind the warm feeling of being with people who care about you. Have compassion for yourself.
  7. Relax your tongue, lips and jaw, and eyes; take five to ten long exhalations; imagine your hands are warm (and tuck them under the pillow); rest a finger or knuckle against your lips; imagine you are in a very peaceful setting; progressively relax each part of your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your head.[2]

If you’re still awake and reading, good night!


Dr. Pamm



[1] “Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep,”, Dec. 2014.

[2] Ibid.

Dr. Pamm to Teach at Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium Nov. 9, 2013

Register now for the Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium on Nov. 9, 2013. Organized by the Greater Williamsburg Area United Way, this one-day event covers a wide range of topics to help women achieve and maintain wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Pamela Cappetta will teach mindfulness skills at 11:00 a.m. The full day of events will be held at Kingsmill Resorts from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and costs $99.