5 Lifestyle Strategies That Can Help You Sleep Better
Almost everyone deals with insomnia from time to time, and we all know the feeling of crawling out of bed in the morning, wondering how you’re going to face the day ahead with such exhaustion. If you struggle with insomnia, poor quality sleep, or other sleep-related issues, consider discussing these with a doctor or counsellor. But don’t despair if you don’t have the time or motivation to do so; a number of simple lifestyle changes can help you regain control of your sleep cycle.
Reduce Caffeine and Sugar
Some people can drink gallons of coffee each day and still hit the pillow in blissful repose each night. If you struggle with insomnia, you are not one of them. Don’t drink anything caffeinated—including tea, coffee, and sodas—six hours before bed. Cutting out sugar may also help, since sugar can give you a temporary energy boost that may lead to nightmares and disturbed sleep.
Get Plenty of Exercise—at the Right Time
Exercise is a wonderful way to build your energy because regular exercise released endorphins—feel-good chemicals that give you a temporary energy boost. But if you exercise right before bed, you might toss and turn, struggling to get to sleep. Get plenty of exercise during the day so that your body has a reason to feel exhausted when it’s time to go to bed. But limit intense physical activity for 3-5 hours before bedtime.
Get On a Healthy Sleep Schedule
The right sleep schedule is key to healthy sleep. Follow these tips:
- Get up at the same time each day, even if you’re tired or didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Sleeping in increases the odds you’ll have trouble getting to sleep the next night.
- Limit naps to twenty minutes twice a day. Anything longer is likely to disrupt your evening sleep.
- Go to bed around the same time each night. This helps your body cultivate a wind-down routine that makes it easier to get some shut-eye.
- Don’t sleep next to your phone, and if you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check your phone.
Don’t Stay in Bed
Your body needs to see your bed as the place you sleep—and only as the place you sleep. If you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes, get up and try again later, or you’ll create a negative association that can leave you tossing and turning night after night. Follow the same rules in the morning: sure, lying in bed and looking out the window or contemplating the day can feel blissful, but it creates a bad habit of being awake in bed. If you struggle to sleep, you cannot afford to have this habit.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is the single most significant contributor to night-time sleep difficulties. You may find yourself lying there worrying about your kids, your job, your finances, and 25 other things. If worry is a problem for you, counselling may be the best option. Some other strategies to manage stress include:
- Repeating a calming mantra to yourself as you fall asleep.
- Meditating twice each day.
- Getting more exercise.
- Developing a proactive plan during waking hours to manage your stress.
If you’ve tried all of these strategies and still are not making progress, contact Three Seas Counselling. We help our clients develop healthy lives that make healthy sleep possible—and even easy. Let us show you that it doesn’t have to be this way, and that anyone can get a good night’s sleep each and every evening.