How Do I Sleep Better?
It is recommended that we get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Ensuring that you have proper sleep is an essential part of self-care and can help in both physical and emotional disease prevention.
Despite making time for sleep, some people still may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. This pattern can be indicative of underlying anxiety (difficulty falling asleep) or depression (difficulty staying asleep/early awakening), physiological changes, lifestyle changes, or general life stressors. Try and identify what may be contributing to your pattern of sleep disturbance and seek help or support if necessary.
Here are some tips to help improve your sleep:
1. Establish a regular time for going to bed and be consistent. Go to bed and get out of bed at about the same time, regardless of how tired you are. Avoid naps.
2. Do not go to bed too early. Your body normally lets you sleep only the number of hours its needs. If you are going to bed early, ask yourself why (bored, depressed, stress).
3. Use your bed for sleep and sex only. Focus on doing stimulating activities such as talking on the phone, watching TV, working on the computer, in another room. These activities will stimulate you making it more difficult to wind down and sleep restfully.
4. Avoid caffeine products, chocolate, heavy foods, nicotine, and alcohol prior to bedtime. These can disrupt your sleep. Additionally, reduce liquid consumption before bed so you’re not awakened by the need to go to the bathroom.
5. Make sure you get enough to eat before bedtime. Hunger can wake you up during the night as well as being too full before bedtime.
6. Develop rituals that signal the end of the day. Turning out the lights, practicing breathing exercises, having a cup of calming tea, reading a book, taking a warm bath, etc.
7. Go to sleep before you have a “second wind.”
8. Do not TRY to fall asleep. This will just make you frustrated. Get out of bed if you’re unable to fall asleep after 15-20 minutes and do a relaxing activity until you are sleepy again.
9. Get regular exercise. Exercise reduces stress, which can lead to better sleep. Avoid exercising just before bedtime.
10. Expose yourself to sunlight or bright lights at some time during the day.
11. Keep a dream journal and jot down any unusual dreams that may have woken you from your sleep. Try and identify any conflicts or emotional issues that you may need to address during waking hours. Talk to your counselor for help.
12. Practice breathing and relaxation skills prior to bedtime. If you are unfamiliar with these skills, talk to your counselor or purchase a relaxation skills training CD.
Contact one of our counselors for help on how to sleep better or click here to schedule an appointment online. Our therapists are available for face to face sessions as well as online therapy sessions in limited areas. Contact us to find out how we can help.
This new edition is updated with powerful relaxation techniques based on the latest research, and draws from a variety of proven treatment methods, including progressive relaxation, autogenics, self-hypnosis, visualization, and mindfulness and acceptance therapy.
Enjoy and learn four stress-management techniques; diaphragmatic breathing, affirmations, visualizations, and progressive muscular relaxation accompanied by soothing, uplifting music to further enhance your relaxation experience. Now you can watch your whole family manage stress and anxiety!
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