Are you having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? Are you a restless sleeper or a clock-watcher? Does it feel like you are exhausted during the day and wired at bedtime? If you found yourself nodding along to any of these questions (or perhaps nodding off if you’ve been tired for long enough), then you are no stranger to the importance of a good night’s sleep and the frustration of restlessness and insomnia.
Sleep is one of our most effective and powerful tools to feel more balanced, alert, and happy. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, sleep can have a powerful effect on many areas of our lives, including mental health, physical health, quality of life, physical safety, growth and development, and brain function and memory. Getting adequate, restful sleep can help with emotion regulation, our ability to cope with change, and problem solving skills.
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” -John Steinbeck
So we’ve covered the importance of getting enough sleep. You might be reading this, wondering what you can do to change your sleep habits or patterns. Here is a list of 7 tips and practices to implement TONIGHT to help get better and longer sleep!
7 Tips and Practices for Sleep:
- Maintain a regular sleep routine.
- Things to Avoid:
- Naps (unless they are short and before 5pm)
- Screens (blue light interference) at least 1 hour before bed.
- Substances that affect sleep (caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, OTC meds)
- Food that can be disruptive to sleep before bed: rich foods, fatty foods, fried or spicy food, sugary food and carbonation. They may cause heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach or sensitive stomach issues.
- Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 30 minutes. Try to get up and do quiet activities for 15 minutes (or less if you get tired). Use your bed for sleeping and intimacy only.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity will help you achieve and maintain better sleep quality. Exposure to natural light during the warmer months can also help with sleep. Enjoy the outdoors with physical activity.
- Keep a quiet, comfortable room. (Cool temperatures, dark, white noise, limit disruptions, use a comfortable mattress and pillow and breathable sheets). If you are a clock-watcher, set an alarm and turn the clock away from you or place across the room.
- Utilize a sleep mat: Grounding or “earthing” mats and acupressure mats can be incredibly helping in falling and staying asleep as well as feeling more rested.
- Natural sleep aids & remedies:
- Magnesium, Melatonin, Natural Calm, Sleepy time tea, Chamomile, Valerian root, Kava Kava, L-theanine
- Essential oils (Lavender, Bergamot, Frankincense, Sandalwood)
- Meditation before bed- guided imagery, deep breathing, relaxing music, yoga
- Warm bath before bed – Epsom salt, essential oils
Getting a good night of restful sleep does not have to seem like an impossible dream. Quality sleep is more under your control than you may think. Following these healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and peaceful slumber. If you stick with these tips, your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve!
University of Haifa. (2017, August 22). Blue light emitted by screens damages our sleep, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 9, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170822103434.htm