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Goodnight Grooves: A Sleepytime Playlist
Why is Going to Sleep so Hard?
Going to sleep is one of the most pleasurable things about everyday life for some of us but getting there takes alot work. First of all, you have to get through the day and all of its troubles. Then you have to make dinner and take care of household duties and finally after some well- deserved leisure activities- you finally go to bed. But wait! You cannot fall asleep.
And for alot of us that has to do with a myriad of things, when in all honesty it has to do with three main issues- the inability to disconnect, our roving brains, and the constant sense of never being through with the day.
But thankfully there is something we can do to relax our troubles away. Along with a few tips, this hub will give you some good tunes to fall asleep to.
Start Unplugging and Unwinding
One thing about our world being constantly connected is that it makes getting a restful night's sleep even more challenging. It used to be falling asleep meant cutting off the television. Now, it means cutting off the tube, shutting down the computer, disconnecting the iPad, silencing the phone and getting our brains into sleep mode.
In fact recent studies have shown that a blue light effect has been noticeable in people who use technology such as laptops and iPads too soon before sleeping. The stimulation from the light actually makes senses more alert instead of relaxing them. Conversely, the light from the television does not have the same effect. Either way, technology before bed has some negative effects.
Other pre-bed activities that need to be saved for more active hours include eating large meals. Eating dinner and large snacks too close to bed puts your digestion at an impasse. Digestion typically takes one to two hours and eating an hour or less before going to sleep is a bad idea. I speak from experience. In college, my friends and I had a late meal of burgers and fries. And about an hour later, I went to sleep and it felt like I had a whale hibernating in my stomach. Nevertheless it took me a good three hours before I finally fell asleep. It was a lesson well-learned.
Exercising is another activity you may want to think about doing earlier rather than later. It takes the body a while to cool down and rest. So ideally, you should exercise a couple of hours before bed like after work or before the day begins like early morning to get the most out of your work out.
Generally what you should do before bed is anything that you did not do during the bulk of the day. For example, making a list of things that need to be done tomorrow so your brain can clear itself.
Preparation is Key
In order to sleep well, you have to enable yourself to sleep well and that means taking the necessary precautions.
Soft Lighting: Bright lighting is symbolic of alertness. Notice how schools employ bright lights to keep kids awake all day? That's exactly what you do not want when getting ready for bed. Try to use dim lighting beginning after dinner and see if it makes you relax.
Soft Noise: By this I mean do not observe or participate in anything particularly loud. I am sensitive to sound and that usually means anything louder than someone talking indoors excites me to think something else is going on.
Light Snack: While some people claim it is good not to eat at all before bedtime, other studies say a light snack of carbohydrates helps the body prepare for rest. Some of us cannot go hungry and sleep but others are different. It' is all about what works for you.
Herbal Tea: There are several types of tea containing relaxing ingredients (i.e. chamomile) that help you relax. A sip of something hot and warm an hour or less before bed helps you rest.
Light Reading: If you have a magazine you like to flip through or a novel that is not too detailed, pre-bedtime is a good time to indulge in it.
Sweet Melodies for Sweet Dreams
These are songs that I personally enjoy listening to all day long but realize they can help soothe you to sleep as well. Everyone's taste in music is obviously different but in general it's best to listen to something soothing with minimal percussion and low bpm as not to get you too excited.
If you have an MP3 player, you can make your own playlist and be ready to go come bedtime. You can choose whatever you like but here are some suggestions based on my experience.
One on One Hall and Oates: If you are a Hall and Oates fan, this song does not disappoint at all. It's a nice slow jam that is very sensual. And it includes numbers so it might make you subconsciously count as well :).
A Dream DeBarge: Some of you may not recognize the song, but it has been sampled throughout the years by several artists in urban music. But as a work on its own, it completely holds up as a musical fairy tale.
Can't Hide Love Earth, Wind & Fire: Earth, Wind & Fire essentially mastered the art of creating memorably classic slow jams and this one is no exemption. My favorite part of the song is at the end where you can forget about singing words and hum along.
Still in Love New Edition: New Edition is one of my favorite all time boy bands and this song is among one of their most overlooked in my opinion. Love songs in general are a great way to end the day to me and this one is definitely worth a listen.
Open Arms Journey: This has to be among one of the best 80s ballads and for obvious reason, it's soaring. While many people, including Mariah Carey have covered this- nothing compares to Steve Perry singing and hitting those notes.
Dreamin' Vanessa Williams: Vanessa Williams needs to make a major musical comeback. Her voice is awesome and she really did a good job of putting out solid hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And this song is no joke, she really proves herself on this sweet ballad.
For the Good Times Al Green: Al Green sings everything perfectly without effort. And this song definitely has his mark on it even though it was originally sung by singer/actor Kris Kristofferson.
Baby Baby Baby TLC: This is not the first song with baby in the title and not the last. Nonetheless, TLC will sing you to sleep in this steady groove.
In My Room The Beach Boys: The Beach Boys are the masters of modern harmony and thankfully no modern technology has been able to duplicate the glorious sound of voices melding together. This is one of their most delightful songs to relax to.
Everytime I Close My Eyes Babyface: For someone with a childish nickname, he knew how to craft some very real love songs. Look for Mariah Carey on the background vocals.
Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart Alicia Keys: Alicia Keys could have her own whole list of lullabies but since this one has sleep in the title, I use it.
Let It Be The Beatles: I always like to think of this being the Beatles' version of a spiritual. Even though it was written after Paul McCartney had a dream about his mother who had passed when he was fourteen after battling cancer, it holds a lot of meaning. But it's a good way to release the day and rest.
Anything for You Gloria Estefan: Even though some consider this a stalker song, it has a nice melody to rock you to sleep.
Dreaming with a Broken Heart John Mayer: For all his failures in being a big mouth in real life, he does a pretty good job of making it up on record. This song is sweet and sad all at once.
In Too Deep Genesis: Phil Collins voice to me is magic. And this song sounds like a modern lullaby.
Come Back to Me Janet Jackson: This is one of my personal favorite Janet Jackson songs ever. Her soft vocals and longing tone make this song a great goodnight groove.
Two Occasions The Deele: Using the contrast of day and night is nothing new but this song is probably most famous for the hook than anything (see Mariah Carey's We Belong Together).
Eternal Flame The Bangles: A sweetly lush ballad by one of the all time great girl bands.
Lady in My Life Michael Jackson: Another song where the sample is more famous than the song (it was famously sampled in LL Cool J and Boyz II Men's Hey Lover in 1996) but the original is pretty awesome.
Run to You Whitney Houston: Whitney Houston could sing anything and this song is further proof of that.
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (Sugar Bear) Elton John: Even though this is talking about someone nearly overdosing, I I love the rhythm and melody of this song.
Take a Bow Madonna: This is without question my favorite Madonna ballad of all time. Simple, bittersweet, and haunting- pure gold.
Take It From Here Justin Timberlake: For serious fans of this song, we call it number four from Justified- one listen and you will know why. It is just that beautiful.
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