Improving your sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health. Make sure you catch some ZZZZZ’s.
COUNT TO FIVE: 5 SLEEP SAVVY TIPS
THINK OF SLEEP LIKE A BUTTERFLY
Adequate sleep helps regulate mood, boosts brain function, and can maximize your potential for having a good day! One way to overcome the struggle of falling asleep is to change your mindset around the process. Try thinking of sleep as a butterfly. If you wanted to catch a butterfly you would not forcefully reach out and grab for it. In fact, the more you fight, the less likely you are to catch it. Butterflies only land on those who are quiet, calm, and not trying to force the interaction. The same applies to sleep. You cannot make your brain fall sleep and actively trying to do so will have the opposite effect. Focus your attention on relaxing your body and breath and allow sleep to come to you. Breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 technique and box breathing can help you gently drift off.
GET SUNLIGHT DURING THE DAY
Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. As we move into winter it is harder to get sunlight, so prioritize getting out of the office for a sun break during the day.
ESTABLISH A PRE-SLEEP ROUTINE
Ease the transition from wake time to sleep with a period of calming actions before bed. Take a bath/shower, read a book, or practice deep breathing. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down and then putting them aside.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK
Avoid going to bed too hungry or too full. Heavy meals within a couple of hours of bedtime can cause discomfort and might keep you up. On the other hand if you’re truly hungry, a small, balanced snack might be just what you need to help you feel comfortable.
Also be aware of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol consumption. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants that take hours to wear off and can impact sleep quality even if you do not think you are sensitive. And while alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep patterns later in the night.
RECHARGE WITHOUT YOUR PHONE
Your bedroom is an excellent place for you to recharge, but it’s not an ideal spot to charge your phone. The blue light emitted from electronics mimics daylight and disrupts your body’s natural sleep cycles. Even if you silence your phone and place it face down to hide any light, simply having it next to your bed makes it extra tempting to check messages, browse social media, or look something up on the internet. Being on your phone in bed interferes with your ability to relax and get the quality rest that your body and mind need. Put your phone in another room before you go to bed and get the most out of your sleep! Use the “excuse busters” below to help you get your phone out of your bedroom.
- “I use my phone as an alarm clock.”
- What did you use before the days of smart phones? Use an old alarm clock you have around the house or purchase one online for as low as $10.00.
- “I might get an emergency call in the middle of the night.”
- Plug in your phone just outside your bedroom door and leave your ringer on high so you can hear it from the other room in case of an emergency.
- “I read/scroll social media/play games on my phone to help me fall asleep.”
- You may be surprised at how well you sleep once you get rid of the blue light right before bed. Find an “analog” way to unwind like reading a book or journaling.