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It’s amazing what a difference a good night’s sleep can make on our whole outlook on life. Sleep affects so much—our physical and mental health, our ability to do our jobs, our relationships, our ability to get those daily chores done, or to have fun doing things that help make life so worthwhile.
What can you do though when your sleep just isn’t the way it used to be?
There are several things you can do to get a better night sleep. An important step is to set up a regular bed and wake-up time. Teaching our bodies that during those times it’s time for sleep helps our bodies restore those natural sleep cycles that all-too-often get disrupted by irregular routines.
What is do-able for you that will work for both the weekdays and weekends? If you have a history of sleep difficulties, it’s really important to establish a routine throughout the week and stick to it. That means getting up the same time you would on weekdays during the weekends and going to bed at the same time too. Sleeping in or staying up really late one or two days a week can really wreak havoc on your circadian sleep rhythms!
About an hour before bed, help your body get tired. Setting up a bedtime routine signals your brain it’s time to slow down. So what are some things you can do that will help?
The light from these devices signals your brain to be awake and prevents really deep sleep. The noise and stimulating content doesn’t help much either.
I know some of you will say that the TV or computer helps you go to sleep. Unfortunately, they prevent you from really sleeping deeply even if you’re able to nod off with them on. For an hour or so before bed, keep those electronics off. In the long run, you’ll be doing your body a big favor.
What do you normally wear to bed? Put your comfie jammies on an hour before bed. If you sleep in your birthday suit, change into some loose, comfortable clothing to get into relaxation.
What really helps you to relax? Listening to soft music with a slow tempo, having a hot bath, sitting with a hot cup of herbal tea, or something else? Spend some time lounging on the couch flipping through a magazine with the lights creating a soft haze. Read a book—one you can easily put down when it’s time to go to sleep.
It can be helpful to have a really dark room so that your brain can begin to produce serotonin, the chemical that helps you sleep. Make sure your alarm clock isn’t too bright and you have heavy curtains or blinds to make your room dark.
Create a quiet environment. If you’re a light sleeper, do what you can to prevent noises from disturbing you. It may be helpful to wear earplugs or to invest in a white noise machine.
Keep the room temperature cool enough—not too cold and not too hot Goldilocks! i.e. 18 degrees Celsius or 65 degrees Farenheit.
Problem sleeping is no fun. Creating a regular sleep routine can make a big difference in your life. Next week I’ll talk about some more ideas about how to get a better sleep. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your ideas! What helps you to get a good sleep?