By: Grace Gufler
If you are someone who is struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, here are some helpful tips you can use to improve your sleep cycle.
- Go to bed the same time every night: this will help train your mind and body to begin shutting down and prepare for rest.
- Have a firm shut down time: a shut down time should be one hour before you want to fall asleep, you should begin shutting down. Do not use any electronics during this time period. The light from a phone or television stimulates the brain and confuses our sleep cycle. Instead, spend this time on other relaxing activities; such as: reading, stretching, meditating or journaling.
- Use your bed only for sleep: it is important for your mind to associate your bed with sleep and sleep alone. I know it can be very tempting and comfortable to use our bed for other things, but this can very damaging to the sleep cycle.
- Expose yourself to natural sunlight: to ensure the proper release of melatonin, your brain needs to be exposed to natural sunlight throughout the day. This can be achieved by: opening your blinds when you wake up, going for a morning walk, sitting by a window at work or eating lunch outside.
- Exercise: if your body is not tired at the end of the day, consider increasing your amount of daily exercise. This will decrease feelings of restlessness and improve ability to fall asleep.
- Staying asleep: if you are prone to waking up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and cannot go back to sleep, it is important for you to get out of bed. This is related to tip #3, do not let your bed be associated with anxiety, wakefulness or stress. Move to another area of your house and do something relaxing for 15-30 minutes. Again, do not use any electronics and try to do something mundane; such as making a grocery list.
Sleep is often overlooked and undervalued but it is a necessity for our health. I hope this blog post helps you implement some healthy sleep habits and improve your sleep cycle. To learn, check out the link below