One of the best remedies for stress is a good night’s sleep. After all, as E. Joseph Cossman said, “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”
As such, for this week’s Feel Good Friday we will focus on helpful sleep tips that can get you back on track for a healthy rest!
- Analyze your environment!
- It should be so dark in your room that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
- 65 degrees is the recommended temperature. As you become drowsy your body temperature drops and it climbs back up towards the end of your final sleep cycle.
- Your pillow should support your head and neck in a neutral position; it is recommended to replace your pillow every two years.
- Your bedroom should be quiet or have “white noise,” a constant ambient sound that helps mask other noises (ex: sound conditioner, fan or air purifier).
- Check your habits
- The effects of caffeine can last between 4-6 hours; be sure to stop your caffeine consumption this many hours before bed.
- Alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it actually causes greater difficulty to sleep deeply and continuously.
- The blue light from your electronics delays the release of melatonin, keeping you fully charged past bedtime. It’s almost like it tricks your brain that it’s sunlight and it’s time to wake up. Electronics should be shut down at least one hour before bed. If you can’t shut off your phone, you can choose to turn on the “blue light filter.” They also make glasses you can purchase that block out blue light.
- Try a relaxation strategy, such as controlled breathing, meditation and mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, or imagery.
- Be sure to listen to your body’s sleep cues (yawning, nodding off, loss of concentration). Most people push through these and get a “second wind,” causing difficulty falling asleep later.
- Engage in a bedtime routine (ex: take your medication, drink a glass of water, shower, brush teeth, lie in bed, complete a relaxation strategy). If we maintain this same routine daily, it cues our brain that it is time for bed.
- If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up, go to a different part of your home, and do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to quiet music. Lying awake in bed for too long can create an unhealthy mental connection between your sleeping environment and wakefulness.
- After implementing all of these changes and you are still having trouble sleeping at night, it’s important to notify your mental health and/or medical provider for further recommendations.
Remember, not every solution is the right one for everyone. If you know of any healthy and helpful tips that we might have missed, or simply don’t know about, let us know!