In my last post, I wrote about how important sleep is to overall well being. We all know that’s essentially a no-brainer. But for many of us, sleep is our nemesis. It mocks us for hours as we lie awake staring at the ceiling. The next morning we’re so sleep deprived that we want to flip tables, rip things to shreds, and kick “sleep” in the balls. Yup, we’ve all been there.
Without a good night’s sleep, I can’t focus, think, or make decisions. I get moody, and my symptoms are triggered. That’s why I’ve made sleep a top priority. Over time I’ve learned some tricks to help me fall, and stay, asleep. There are still nights that I’m up for hours, but generally, I’ve improved my quality of sleep since implementing these four things.
1) Create a nighttime routine, including setting a bedtime
I know we’re not in elementary school anymore, but setting a bedtime routine helps your body understand that…well, it’s bedtime. I’ve set my bedtime at 11:30 pm. Beforehand, my routine includes writing things down that I need to do the following day, kicking my cat out of my room (he’s cute, but not THAT cute that I’ll give up my sleep for him), watching a Netflix show, turning my phone on silent, reading, and finally, sleeping. No, I don’t follow this to a “T” every night. On weekends, I sometimes work until 12:00 am, or I’m out late with my friends. But on weeknights especially, when I know I need sleep, I make sure I am home in time for lights out by 11:30 pm.
2) Download a blue light filter on your phone and computer
Research has shown that blue light, which is emitted from electronics, suppresses the production of melatonin. That’s bad because melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep. Downloading a filter prevents blue light emanating from your screen; therefore, the production of melatonin isn’t interfered with as much. There are a bunch of blue light filters to choose from. I have the free version of f.lux on my computer. The cool thing is that it’s set on a timer that gradually dims the screen as it gets closer to my bedtime. I don’t even realize it’s on.
3) Find an interesting, yet boring documentary on Netflix
Yes, I know that phrase seems contradictory, but let me explain before you think I’m nuts. If you’re like me, one of the biggest reasons you have trouble sleeping is because your brain won’t shut up. When it gets really bad, I find that listening to a documentary on Netflix that’s interesting enough to distract me from my thoughts, yet boring enough where I don’t mind falling asleep, is super helpful. The ones that work best for me are nature and food documentaries (try Cosmos!) I dim the screen all the way and just listen to it. If I find myself still wide awake, I’ll turn the screen on very dim and watch it until I feel like I can fall asleep.
4) Turn your phone on silent and set it on the other side of the room
I frequently get texts and other notifications in the middle of the night. Putting my phone on silent and placing it somewhere I can’t reach prevents me from being woken up in the middle of the night.
So there. I’m no guru, but hopefully, I gave you some ideas that you can try. Like I said, there are definitely nights when I implement these things and I’m STILL awake for hours. But for the most part, they work!
Have some tips of your own? Leave them in the comment section!