Catching Those Zzz's
According to the CDC, over 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep issues. It doesn't take many conversations with family and friends to find those who struggle. Perhaps you yourself struggle with it. It's not uncommon to have periods of good sleep and periods of disturbed sleep but a chronic pattern can start to affect other areas of your life. Check out these sleep tips below to start catching more Zzzs at night!
Start to darken the lights in your house at least 1 hour before bed. Turn on lamps instead of overhead lights. Stay away from lights with LED bulbs.
Limit screen use. I know this one is hard but it's true that reading a good old book is better than scrolling on social media. For one the light from screens or TVs can keep you awake. Another problem is that social media or sometimes engaging TV can activate your mind more which is not helpful when you are trying to unwind from the day.
Limit your food and drinks starting one hour before bed. One of the worst feelings in the world can be when you get settled in to bed and then all of the sudden realize you need another bathroom break! This will also help keep you asleep if you can limit the urge to go during the night. Limit drinks with caffeine several hours before bed.
Create a night time routine. Maybe it's taking a long bath. Maybe it's using a lavender candle or lotion. Find the same events to walk through each night about an hour before you get in bed. For those who have had kids already, think back to when their sleep was the best. It was probably when they were little and you had established a bed time routine with them. Adults are the same way with routines!
Try journaling closer to lights out to help get any thoughts or feelings from the day out. This is will help your mind be more at rest as you try to fall asleep.
Once you are in bed and lights out- find ways to focus your mind. Focus on your breathing. Focus on a meditation, scripture or prayer. Focus on your accomplishments that day. Focus on one positive thing that occurred that day. Limit any thoughts on the next day or to-do lists as this will typically just create anxiety and unrest.
Know your sleep needs. Listen to your body to determine the optimal time to fall asleep each night. Try to keep weekends to the same ballpark. Pay attention to when better sleep occurs and what you may have done to assist that. Do you sleep with a mask on? No lights? Nightlight? Noise machine? Nature sounds? Spend several nights trying different options to see what works best for you.
Wash your sheets and pillows often. Clean sheets can provide a sense of comfort.
Don't go cheap on pillows. Sure the $3 bin at Wal-mart was great for the dorm but maybe now is the time to invest in better pillows. Your head and neck needs will change as you age so make sure you are paying attention to your body and the needs for more support.
Don't force sleep. I think we have all experienced that night when we felt pressure to sleep well or go to sleep sooner and all we did was lay awake for hours frustrated! Learn more about your body and mind and you will learn how to achieve the optimal sleep for you!
Best of luck!