Mental health issues almost always seem to come with issues involving sleep for many of us and so often it can feel nothing helps us fall asleep. In my circumstances I find it easy to fall asleep but will wake up after four or five hours each night and that’s it, I’m done. I know this isn’t because I’m well rested because I spend my entire existence in permanent exhaustion. I’ve compiled a list of things that have been proven to work for others and for me.
During all my therapy I’ve gone through a lot of sleep hygiene work to help me get more sleep and it has improved my sleeping pattern a good bit however it still isn’t where I’d like it to be but that’s life. Take whatever improvements you can in life. I think this is best done in list format and that way you can copy and paste it out and print it if you want a physical copy for your bedroom or wherever.
- Avoid stimulants after 6pm. Alcohol may help you get to sleep but as you start to process those eight pints you will wake up half way through the night. Avoid caffeine, which means no coffee, tea, Red Bull etc. late in the afternoon and evening.
- Exercise during the day will help you sleep later at night. However intense work outs late in the day can actually keep you awake so leave the strenuous ones for early in the day.
- Avoid rich food, this means heavy, rich, fatty and carbonated drinks close to bedtime can trigger heartburn which will keep you awake.
- Limit nap time, sleeping during the day isn’t a healthy way to make up for lost sleep. In the modern world sleeping during the day is rarely an option. However a 30 minute nap has benefits such as improved mood and alertness. But never go over 30 minutes.
- Get some sunlight, during the day get out and expose yourself to the sun. During the night avoid having all the brightest lights in the house on just before bed. This will help ensure a normal circadian rhythm.
- Clean environment, by this I mean make sure your bedroom is clean. Make sure there isn’t clothes strewn helter-skelter. Remove televisions, gaming consoles and computers from your room. Don’t spend time in your bedroom during the day. This will make your brain recognise your room solely as a place to rest and sleep and will help it shut off at night.
Hopefully this list helps improve your sleep patterns which in turn improve your moods and life in general. If all these steps seem to be too much at once then pick one and implement it. Perhaps the clean environment step. Ensure you follow this step and when it becomes almost second nature add another step, maybe exercise during the day. And slowly step by step you will have all six steps implemented.
If you have your own sleep hygiene techniques or hints and tips please let us all know in the comments and sleep tight!