By Leslie Barker
The Dallas Morning News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From meditation to practicing deep breathing throughout the day, sleep experts share some of their top tips on how to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Tony Reed believes in the power of sleep. He cherishes his nightly eight hours; hardly ever has trouble achieving them.
“It’s rare, very rare, when I have problems falling asleep,” says Reed, 61, a Dallas business manager, professional speaker and marathon runner.
But when that does happen, he’s ready.
“What I do is to focus on the most peaceful time I ever had in my life,” he says. “For me, that was being on a camping trip for a week, just sleeping in tents and just really enjoying everything. We were only 15 or 16, had our whole lives ahead of us, and we would just go on hikes at night and talk and solve all the problems of the world.”
Daniel Taylor, a sleep researcher and professor at the University of North Texas, identifies Reed’s technique as “imagery.”
“It’s essentially relaxation,” says Taylor, whose latest research project, conducted with fellow UNT psychologist Kimberly Kelly, will be on the effect sleep deprivation has on the way nurses respond to the flu vaccine.
“People use imagery any number of ways,” Taylor says. “You hear them saying, ‘Imagine yourself on the beach. Smell the smells.’ It gets you out of the here and now, away from whatever things might be stressing you out.”
Who knows what those might be for any one person? But in a world where 30 percent of the population has what’s called transient, or short-term, insomnia, apparently stressors abound. So do promising ways of dealing with them when they raise their annoying hands in the middle of the night.