Do you suffer from lack of sleep? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? If so, this article is for you. Many people struggle to get a good night rest for a variety of reasons. Anyone will tell you that they cannot function at full capacity when they are sleep deprived. There may be some simple things that you can do that will make a difference.
Sleep affects many areas of your life that you may not even be aware of. Other than the obvious feeling of dragging, it harms your mental health, physical health and metabolism. Here are some common sleep disorders.
Do’s of Sleep
Keep the temperature of your room comfortable
If your room gets too warm or too cold it will be hard to sleep.
Keep your room dark
Darkness impacts production of melatonin. If there are streetlights or some other light source, you can get blackout curtains. Have you ever noticed that you can sleep later in a hotel room than at home? That is because there are blackout curtains.
Have a wind down routine
What do you do before going to bed? Many people find it relaxing to read in bed at night-but not on a computer or phone screen (see below). Others like to take a hot bath or shower. Perhaps there is something different you do. It is OK if it’s nonconventional, as long as it works for you.
Does your mind have trouble quieting down? Doing a breathing meditation before bed is a wonderful way to slow down those racing thoughts. Because it forces you to slow down your breathing, your heart rate also slows down. It is also wonderful to do if you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep.
Go to bed at the same time each night
Having a set schedule will help you to wind down. Your body learns your routine and it will help to fall asleep.
Having a regular exercise routine will also help with sleep. Some people say they are too tired to exercise. Yet the crazy thing is, if you force yourself to do it, it will help with sleep. You don’t want to do a heavy workout prior to bed though.
Keep a notepad by your bedside
If you are someone who gets ideas in the middle of the night and are worried about remembering them in the morning, writing them down in the dark can help. You’ll be able to decipher your handwriting in the morning, and you can let the thought go. That way you have a better chance of drifting off to sleep.
Don’ts of Sleep
Don’t have a clock that you can see
If you use an alarm clock or a phone to wake up be sure it is out of reach. What do you think happens if you look at your phone and see that it is 1 am? You probably think, oh good, I have several hours before I need to get up so I can still get a good night sleep. Now if you see that it is 5:30 am, you might think, oh no, I didn’t get enough sleep and I’m going to be tired. Or you look at the phone and it’s 2 am, then 3 am, then and 4 am. You might think you have been up for several hours. However, sleep studies show that you go in and out of sleep and don’t realize it. This mental math you do will only increase your anxiety and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Don’t drink a lot of caffeine
If you drink more than 2 caffeinated beverages in a day, you may need to cut back. There is a relationship between caffeine and anxiety. Anxiety will impact your ability to sleep. Also be sure you that you don’t have any within several hours of bedtime. You may need to switch to half caff, or decaf over time. I’m not suggesting you quit cold turkey, as many people get caffeine headaches, so taper off slowly.
Don’t have a TV in your bedroom
The bedroom should be for 2 things only. Sleep and sex. Research shows that those who have a TV in their bedroom have less sex. For many people that will serve as a motivator.
Don’t use your phone or computer 1 hour before bed
The back light on these devices are stimulating, and get in the way of melatonin production which is necessary to fall asleep.
Don’t drink alcohol before bed
Doing so may help you to fall asleep, but you will not get the deep restorative sleep that you need to feel rested.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful. If you struggle with sleep, don’t hesitate to call me at 713-304-6554 and together we can see if we can come up with a plan to help you sleep better.