Ever wonder why it seems your dog is in a good mood all the waking hours of the day? Perhaps adopting a dog’s sleep habits might help you emulate the feeling.
A bad night’s sleep is the worst when it comes to getting things accomplished and feeling good during what should be a great day. The effects due to lack of sleep on mood, productivity, creativity, and even the quality of our relationships take a bigger toll on our health than most realize.
Anyone who does have trouble sleeping most likely have read all the “regular” things to do in order to get better sleep. The concept becomes nothing more than a repeated set of rules that get ignored, similar to the simple rules of training a well behaved dog.
Finding a new outlook and different perspective is the answer to changing any sort of habit you’ve developed. Sleep is no different. That being the case here are some ideas that may just be on the level of an “ah-ha moment” and getting some quality sleep along the way.
Sleep Like a Dog
Dogs may not have the same stress and anxiety as we do, but they do have certain routines you can practice that prepare you for a great night’s sleep.
Eat Several Hours Before Going To Bed
Following this rule of the paw is much easier when you are dog, generally because dogs get fed only twice a day and they have no other choice. Getting up off the couch and wandering over to the fridge to aimlessly snack isn’t an option. Maybe eating like a dog is in order for better health! Eat at meal times and don’t snack just before going to bed.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
The beverage of choice for a dog is water, again, simply because it is the only thing available. Taking alcohol out of the picture would most likely find large numbers of people wagging more. Not such a bad idea, yet we still willingly tip those unwanted calories with bad side effects regularly. If you have trouble sleeping this may be one to give a serious try.
Reduce the Bright Light of the Computer Screen
Computers, Blackberries, iPhones, the television… we live in a digital age and much of our entertainment comes from our computer screen. If we aren’t working on them, we are playing on Twitter or Facebook, “chatting” with a friend or catching up on a bit of work before going to sleep. It is almost a ridiculous thought to make it a rule to limit screen time before bed these days. If it is an impossibility for you, try dimming the screen, creating a low light effect to enhance preparation for sleep.
Take a Power Nap in a Sunny Spot
Ever notice how your dog will find the spot in the house where the sun is shining through the window creating a nice cozy warm sleeping zone? Sleep is sleep is sleep and especially if you are lacking enough sleep at night by all means go for the power nap during the day. Find a cozy warm spot, curl up, catch a few refreshing zz’s just like your dog, and go back to a productive day.
Get Out and Exercise
Most exercise should be done in the morning or afternoon. Don’t get your heart racing just before you plan on shutting it all down for sleep. Dogs love the chance to run around and stretch it out first thing in the morning, regardless of the weather, time of year, or lack of coffee. Head out the door with your dog first thing in the morning to set your day off to a better start. Numerous studies conclude exercise induces good sleep habits.
Get Enough Sunlight
Dogs typically don’t understand the odd hours we humans have started keeping. Staying up later and later into the night is becoming normal. Before we had such great late night television shows available people went to sleep closer to sunset and awoke at sunrise.
Dogs seems to maintain this routine better than people now days. It may have something to do with the fact that dogs usually get the appropriate amount of sunlight. There is a real advantage to having to go outside to go to the bathroom! On any account, getting sunlight every day can help with your sleep cycles so make sure to get outside and soak up some real daylight.
A Comfortable Bed
Dogs sleep in many positions. Most dogs have a little ritual before laying down. Fluff up the bed, turn around three times and curl up in a nice warm little ball. Once in a deep sleep you’ll see dogs roll over on their back completely stretched out. Comfortable. Asleep. Set your sleeping space up so it is comfortable and dark, with room to curl up and stretch out in your best slumbering moments.
Think of it as your den. Take the time to slow down and get away from the computer, the phone, TV and the hustle bustle of the world. Take a rest in your own comfy den and come out refreshed and ready to wag.
Jt Clough is a professional dog trainer and writes at www.DogTrainingSanDiego.com Creating a balanced life with calm dog training techniques through her long time commitment to health and fitness, Clough a finisher of 9 Ironmans, and creator of dog running programs inspires people by introducing playtime in life through the eyes of a dog.
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