Having a Rough Time Sleeping?
I decided that it was time for me to get a better quality of sleep. For the last several years I’ve had a HORRIBLE time sleeping through the night. For me, it was mostly because I was in a career working in crisis intervention and would often get calls in the middle of the night. Well, now that I’m not in that position anymore, I still have lousy sleep habits. On most nights, I don’t go to sleep until very late (around 1am), and usually get up around 6:30-7am. I do notice that the later I go to bed, the worse my sleep is. In general, it seems the older we get, the more difficult it is to get a good night’s sleep.
The thing with sleep is that in order to get a good night’s sleep one important factor is to have a routine. The other thing is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. With that being said, I decided it was probably in my best interest to working on a better quality of sleep. I often find that when I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’m crankier, have less patience, and can’t focus as well as I need to.
Here are 6 things to help you with better sleep habits:
Establish a nightly bedtime routine – The experts call this having good “sleep hygiene”
For each person, this will be different, but the important thing here is to do the same thing each night in order to get yourself ready for bed
This would include going to bed the same time each night and wake up each morning at the same time. What??? Even on the weekends I have to get up early? Yes, this will help your body get used to a regular sleep pattern.
Do not nap during the day
This can definitely throw off your sleep patterns. I know, you’re saying “but I get tired in the middle of the day”. I get it, so do I. But what happens is your body thinks that it’s had it’s sleep for the day, and this can make it more difficult for you to get to sleep, or get a restful sleep at night.
Do something to help you unwind
It can take your brain several hours to unwind and get yourself ready for sleep. Some things that can help get yourself ready are:
Take a warm bath or shower – this relaxes your body and your mind and can be very soothing.
Drink something warm - warm milk or herbal tea are a couple of suggestions that can help relax you
Meditate or engage in a guided mindfulness meditation
Limit your intake of caffeine, as well as an excess of liquids
Caffeine generally takes 8-14 hours to completely get out of your system. So, if you’re drinking caffeine at 8pm, there’s a pretty good chance you might struggle to sleep that night
Exercise regularly and at at brisk pace
For many people exercising in the evening ramps you up, not calms you down. It raises your heart rate and adrenaline, which can make it difficult to wind down. But for some people, it can be a way of winding down and relaxing.
Avoid watching TV or being on the computer before bedtime
Studies have shown that engaging in any kind of screen time or similar stimulation effects your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep
I hope that these tips to increase your sleep quality were helpful. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get a better night’s sleep, please feel free to contact me
Norine is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Engage in Westlake Village, Ca, and has been practicing for 30 years. As each client is different, Norine engages with the client in order to find out how to best meet their needs. Norine specializes in working with clients who are experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and life transitions. Norine works with children, adolescents, adults and families.