1950: Sleep

I don’t know about you, but with this latest time change I’m having a heck of a time adjusting. I just don’t do well getting up when it is still dark out, and I am of course staying up way too late. What’s a girl to do? Why, dig up some sleep tips of course. These are just a few suggestions of things I might try from Ida Bailey Allen’s Youth After Forty, published in 1950. She has a whole chapter devoted to the topic!

What to Read Before Going to Bed
If you have been using your eyes steadily all day, reading should be avoided. But if you must read, choose what I call a “drowsing book,” unexciting, mildly interesting or amusing, or frankly dull. Or select something philosophical, or comfortingly religious, that induces a feeling of security in the Infinite to which you are about to entrust your body and soul in sleep.

Bedtime Routine
But don’t think you can merely jump into bed and have a good night’s rest. Getting ready for bed should be an unhurried process. After undressing arrange your hair for the night. Adjust a sleeping net to keep it in order, and have a pretty one. If you bathe at night, the bath should be tepid, not hot. If you are very tired, take a lazy relaxing bath. Then come the nightly facial and hand routines. Now stop a moment to check. Windows adjusted for fresh air? Alarm clock set? Glass of water on the bedside table? Carefully turn the covers way back. Lights out and into bed.

Get Tense to Relax
Stretch out full length until you feel tall. Stretch the arms wide on each side; rotate the feet. Rotate the legs. Wriggle the toes. And here’s the pay-off for real release from ordinary tension: To overcome tenseness resulting from the day’s push and rush you must first get tense. To do this stretch every muscle of the body as taut as possible, clench the hands, tense the feet, the toes ~ then slowly go limp all over and relax completely. Do this several times. Finally you keep that relaxed condition. The eyes slowly blink and finally close. Your whole body feels grateful for this release from tension. You welcome sleep.

Sweet Sleep Inducer ~ My Best Recipe
Lie flat and still. Don’t think about the day; its sorrows; disappointments; joys; triumphs. Don’t think about tomorrow. Forget yourself and give out something to others. What? Kind thoughts or blessings to everyone near and dear to you; to friends, acquaintances, persons in public life you perhaps have never met but who have helped others. You might even include some people you don’t like. This will make you more tolerant, and tolerance induces relaxation. If you try every night for the rest of your life you’ll never finish the list, sleep comes so soon and is so deep and “sweet.”