If you ever have trouble sleeping, which most of us do, here are some simple tricks to help you sleep better.
According to the National Institute of Health, “roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep disruption, and approximately 10 percent have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with a diagnosis of insomnia.”
During this COVID-19 pandemic, I can only imagine these statistics are much higher as stress and anxiety can play a big role in keeping us from restful sleep.
You may suffer from insomnia if you have any of the following symptoms a few nights per week.
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up a lot during the night
- Waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep
- Waking up feeling un-refreshed
Whether it is clinical insomnia or not, most of us have trouble sleeping from time to time and there are things we can do to have a better chance at a good nights sleep. Here are some simple tricks you can use to modify your bedroom environment, bedtime routine, and daytime habits to help you sleep better.
- Sleep in a cool room.
- Keep the room dark dark by removing or covering all lights in your room and using black out curtains to block outside light. Funny story about this one… I love sleeping in a rainstorm. The other night I thought it would be fun and relaxing to sleep with the curtains open and watch the lightening as I went to sleep, but it was too bright. I couldn’t fall asleep and had to close the curtains. Should’ve followed my own advice!
- Keep the bedroom for sleeping and not work by using electronics like phone, TV and laptop in other rooms.
- Make your sleeping area comfortable. This includes a good mattress, pillow, and appropriate blankets so that you are not too hot or too cold. Try putting on some clean sheets for a fresh, relaxed, special feeling as well as to reduce allergies.
- Control allergens by cleaning your sheets and blankets often, vacuum frequently, and do not let pets on the bed. Sleep with the windows closed if you have seasonal allergies.
- Don’t eat large meals, especially spicy ones, 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to reduce indigestion.
- Balance water intake so that you drink enough during the day but don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Include exercise or some type of physical activity in your day.
- Reduce or avoid caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.
- Limit alcohol intake. Although many people think it will help you sleep, it does not. In fact, it impairs sleep and can worsen anxiety and cause night sweats.
- Stressed or anxious about something? Talk to someone, write about it, or pray to clear you mind.
Develop a good bedtime routine that signals your body to go to bed. This may include things like prepping things you will need for tomorrow, doing something relaxing before bed, washing your face, brushing your teeth, reading a book, or praying.
Avoid electronics before bed, the light they give off is stimulating to the brain and make it hard to fall asleep. You may want to stop screen time up to 1 to 2 hours before bed. This is one I need to work on.
Too much on your mind or just can’t fall asleep? In our house we like to use “Happy Thoughts”. Think of a happy place that you’d like to be and really imagine that place in your mind. Then go through your 5 senses one by one as you think about that place. Think about what you can feel, smell, taste, see, and hear in your happy place. Take yourself there and relax from the day’s stress. Let your body relax. Think about relaxing each body part individually as you move from head to head in your mind. Let our body drift off to sleep as you imagine your happy place.
If after trying these modifications you still have trouble sleeping, you may want to talk with your doctor about other treatment options.