Sleep Strategies

 

 

 

 

  • Aim for the right amount of sleeps; adults need 7 to 9 hours each night.

 

  • Try to maintain a regular sleep and wak time, even on weekends and vacations. Wake-up at your scheduled wake time, even if you went to sleep much later than your scheduled sleep time.

 

  • Do not consume caffeine after 12 pm; this includes coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks.

 

  • Do not consume alcohol 2 hours before bed. Alcohol may help some fall asleep, but researchers have found it disrupts sleep cycles later in the night and creates restless, less quality sleep.

 

  • Use bed for sleep and intimacy only. While in bed, don’t engage in texting, talking on the phone, reading, watching television, painting nails, etc. When you get in bed, you want your brain to signal sleep, rather than preparing for activity.

 

  • No screen time 1 hour before bedtime; this includes television, electronic readers, phone, computer, tablet, video games, etc. Light-emitting devices have been found to negatively impact ease of falling asleep, sleep quality, and the production of melatonin (sleep regulating hormone).

 

  • Create a pre-sleep routine that you will do every night before sleep. After a few weeks, you will begin to feel drowsy when engaging in your pre-sleep routine due to the association your brain has made between these activities and sleep. Routine may include: check the door locks, take pet to the bathroom, turn off lights, shower, brush teeth, set-out clothes for next day, meditate, change into pajamas, take medications, pack lunch, etc.

 

  • Make your room as dark as possible while sleeping; any light can negatively affect sleep quality. Light exposure stimulates nerves from the eye to the brain, which impacts hormones, body temperature and other functions that impact our sleep/wake cycle. Find heavier window coverings and consider an eye mask for sleep.

 

  • Use white or pink noise for sleep. White noise is a constant sound, similar to a waterfall or blowing-wind that blocks background noise that could interrupt sleep. You can purchase a white noise machine or download a free white noise app on your phone. Make sure the sound is white noise and not other variable sounds, like ocean or jungle sounds.

 

  • Make your room cool while sleeping; research shows around 65° Fahrenheit is best. When you become drowsy, your temperature drops and then climbs slightly as morning begins. Some insomnia may be associated with improper body temperature regulation.

 

  • Turn-off most lights in your home 1 hour before bed. Light is a powerful cue that tells your body it’s time to rest or to be active.

 

  • Try not to engage in any stimulating activities 1 hour before bed, like mopping your floors or arguing with partner.

 

  • Do not exercise 3 hours before bedtime.

 

  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily, even if it’s just taking a walk. Physical activity has been shown in research to help regulate your sleep/wake cycle.

 

  • Don’t ever sleep with a television on while you sleep or fall asleep.

 

  • Consider removing a child or pet from your bed and/or room for less interrupted sleep.

 

  • If you struggle with racing thoughts or worries while trying to fall asleep, distract your mind with mental activities. Bedtime is not the time to replay the events of the day, ponder your retirement, or make a mental grocery list.

    • Activity 1: In your mind, identify the first word that come to mind for each letter of the alphabet (example: Apple, Breath, Create, Dog, etc.) Continue to cycle through the alphabet without repeating any words.

    • Activity 2: Count backwards from 100 several times.

    • Activity 3: Fantasize about you as a character in a movie, book, or made-up story.

        * When your mind wonders off to other thoughts, just return to the activity when you

           realize, without judgement; it's to be expected.

 

  • Consider replacing your mattress if you feel body discomfort may be negatively impacting your sleep.

 

*These sleep strategies may take a few weeks of rigid adherence to begin working and will not work as well if rules are broken.

 

*These sleep strategies are designed for optimal sleep and may not be necessary for those with good sleep.

 

 

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