4 Strategies For Getting Better Sleep
If your relationship status with sleep has been “It’s complicated” more often than not, it’s time to try a different approach. Here are few tips for getting those quality Zzz’s:
1. Establish a Nightly Routine
Most of us have some sort of nightly routine in place, whether it’s brushing our teeth, washing up, or changing into our PJs. Look at this routine as a way to tell yourself that it’s time for bed. A lot of new moms use this technique to sleep train their babies. By creating a routine like dimming the lights every night at a set time or taking a shower, it triggers the brain to switch gears into “wind down” mode. If it works for babies, it can surely work for us too.
Think about your current routine. What do you need to do to this routine to use it to tell yourself to sleep?
2. Protect Your Sleep Space
Another way to tell yourself it’s time to sleep, is to protect your sleeping space. Feng shui experts believe that the bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex. That means no work, no laptop, and unfortunately, no TV to stay up late watching FRIENDS reruns. Establish boundaries between your bedroom and the rest of your living space to teach your brain to associate your bedroom with sleep and relaxation. This makes it easier to fall asleep each night.
Indulge your sleep space to increase the relaxation factor of your bedroom. Treat your space like a sanctuary and you’ll look forward to climbing into bed every night. Invest in a set of quality sheets or bring in your favorite scents to help you relax.
Diffuse essential oils like lavender and lemon to help set a calm ambiance.
3. Go Screen-Free for 90 Minutes
Yes, you read that right. Ninety-minutes is the recommended amount of time to go screen-free before bed. Studies have shown that exposure to the blue light emitted from electronics like our TVs, phones, and computers suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. That’s one of the major reasons why it’s so hard to make the transition from looking at our phones to falling asleep. For those of you who rely on the TV to lull you to sleep, read a book instead.
Unplug from your devices and screens at least 90 minutes before you plan to go to sleep. Better yet, put your phone in another room so you’re less tempted to check Instagram just one last time before bed.
4. TRY Stream of Consciousness Journaling
For many of us, the moment our head hits the pillow may be the first moment of silence we’ve experienced all day. It’s no wonder that our minds are then flooded with thoughts, anxieties, ideas, or problems that seem to need solutions so urgently now that we are trying to fall asleep.
Stream of consciousness journaling gets those ideas out of your head and on to paper. By flushing excess thoughts out of your mind and into a bedside journal or notepad, you not only create some breathing room for yourself, but you also save those nagging thoughts or ideas for later when you are better equipped to address them one at a time.
Designate five minutes before you go to bed. The only rule is that you write exactly what you think – no editing, no analyzing. Don’t worry about misspellings or grammar. Just let your thoughts flow as uncensored as possible on to the page.