SIMPLE TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE
I can remember when my issues with insomnia began. I was in my early teens and it seemed like it came out of nowhere. Everyone else in my family slept great. My Mom was known for falling asleep in the passenger seat of the car and so I became the “designated navigator” on family trips. I didn’t like to sleep in the car anyway as I got car sick sitting in the back. This new role suited me just fine.
Throughout my life I remember being prescribed various sleeping pills to try to help me sleep, but not really having much success with any because they made me too drowsy the next day and I really didn’t like taking medication to sleep.
As I got a bit older, I tried some more natural remedies like valerian root and melatonin with some success. I just assumed I was one of “those people” that had issues with sleep, and this would be my life.
Sleep is crucial to high performance. Your body needs time to repair and rest each night. The Mayo Clinic recommends 7-9 hours of sleep each night for adults. If you are getting less than this, you are likely to have performance that is impacted as a result.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
I would first suggest speaking to your physician to ensure there is not an underlying condition that may be causing your sleep issues or insomnia. If you have been deemed healthy and there is no clear cause then some of the following may help as they eventually led me to sleep 7-9 hours each night, without any medication, on a consistent basis.
1. Establish a bedtime routine – Nothing sexy here. Similar to establishing a morning routine, I regularly ask my clients what their evening routine looks like and how they are sleeping. Often the answer is “I don’t have one” and “I don’t sleep very well”. The two are related.
Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each evening. Take a shower or bath as part of your evening routine. The increase in body temperature from the bath/shower followed by the decrease in temperature as you cool off signals the body that it is time for sleep.
Make yourself a hot cup of tea (sleepytime or something calming) if you are into tea. I started drinking tea several years ago and incorporated this into my routine.
If you find that electronics are something that is keeping you up, keep them out of the bedroom. No sleeping with the tv on. Try reading a little (not on a device) before bed. All of these things let your brain know it is time for sleep. Routine is key.
2. Try a sleep meditation/story- I know I said no electronics earlier but if you are having trouble sleeping because your mind won’t shut off, this is for you. There are several apps out there that feature sleep meditations and/or stories that distract your brain to help you fall asleep. They also allow you to set white noise of your choice to play after the story has ended so there isn’t quiet all of a sudden if that would also wake you. I personally use Slumber, and this has been a game changer for me.
3. Journal – If you aren’t someone that already journals in the daytime, before bed could be a great time to write down your thoughts from the day. I noticed a huge improvement in my sleep after I started a daily journal practice a few years ago.
At first, I didn’t immediately tie the two things together. Eventually, after speaking to a coach of mine, I realized that putting things down on paper that were otherwise rattling around in my head allowed me to go to bed each night and sleep more soundly.
Getting good quality sleep is important no matter what you do. I realized early on that I wasn’t performing well at school, in sports, and later in life in my career, when I wasn’t well rested. I took proactive steps to correct an issue that had been a long-term problem for me.
If sleep is something you struggle with, give some of the things in this article a try. None are expensive, none require you to take any medication, and all you have to lose is more sleep.
Getting my sleep under control took time. Any habit does. Commit to two weeks to start. Make note of how you feel. If it seems to be working, try 30 days.
Finally, as always if I can help please reach out. I offer a complimentary first session to all new clients. Click here to schedule today.
Have questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org