09 Feb Strategies to Help Improve Sleep
Trouble with sleeping is something most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. Inadequate sleep can interfere with our physical, social, mental and emotional functioning, which is why it’s so critical to have healthy sleep hygiene.
Difficulty with sleep can be categorized by difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking up too early. Common causes can be stress-related concerns about finances, school, poor health, or family, which can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep.
Regardless as to what thoughts or feelings might be keeping you awake at night, try these tips to help improve your sleep:
Yes, this one might sound like it falls under the same umbrella as “don’t worry,” but it can be more active than that. Instead of just trying not to dwell on something (which can feel impossible), try to replace the worry that grows with every moment you lie there and can’t fall asleep with a focus on your breathing and keeping those breaths slow and even.
This can work best if you make sure you’re already tired before you get into bed and try to sleep. Try to get into a relaxing, pre-bedtime wind down routine so that your body can start preparing for sleep.
Another positive addition to your relaxing, pre-bedtime routine could be a warm bath or shower. Even if you’re habitually a morning shower-er, give it a try. The warm water can help relax your body, and the time to think while you’re bathing can help settle your mind.
A warm drink before bed can have a similar relaxing effect to a warm bath. A glass of warm milk, tea, or warm water with honey and lemon could help send you off to sleep.
Keep It Moving
The routine you set up to help yourself start preparing for sleep can start as early as adding some gentle exercise to your morning. Exercising later in the day, rather than helping you wind down, can add to your tendency towards insomnia, but walking, jogging, or swimming earlier in the day can be steps in the right direction for sleep.
Know When To Call It Quits
If you’ve been lying in bed unable to sleep for say half an hour, you’re probably not getting much rest anyway. Get up, and move around a little bit. Try to do something else, like read a book, stretch, do a guided meditation, or do some small repetitive chores before you try to go back to sleep.
Sleeping difficulties may occur due to lifestyle factors, poor sleep hygiene, stress, anxiety, or an underlying medical condition. Whatever the cause, there are things you can do to improve the quality or duration of your sleep. The important thing is to try different strategies until you find the one that works best for you.
Authored by: Ilana Sancha, LMSW