Tips for Better Sleep

Woman sitting on corner of a bed in the dark
By Guest Author
Posted by: Unison

Not only is getting enough sleep a part of self-care, ensuring you receive adequate sleep is critical for your performance, happiness, and overall wellbeing. A good night’s sleep is so important for our physical and emotional well-being, but it’s not always easy to come by. If you’re not getting enough sleep because it’s hard to fall asleep or it’s hard to stay asleep, there are a number of small changes and supports you can try that may help you sleep better.

Shut down the screens at least 1 hour before bedtime
By putting a curfew on your electronics, you are not only limiting your exposure to the glow from electronics, but you are removing the temptation to stay up much later in the night. By setting a definite time past which electronics are strictly banned, you are reserving your bedroom and nighttime routine for relaxation and sleep.

Establish a regular sleep routine
We can signal to our bodies that it is time to sleep by creating a sleep ritual. A sleep ritual doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s a matter of doing the same things in a similar order before sleep, marking the time as special. A wind-down ritual should be calming, an invitation to slow down and settle thoughts. It might be a bath, then doing some meditation, and then reading in bed. If you find it’s difficult to quiet your mind at the end of the day, a few minutes of journaling as part of your sleep ritual may help to get things out of your head and onto a page.Most importantly, try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.

Avoid large meals before bed
Did you know that eating a large or spicy meal for dinner can impact your sleep? The energy and effort required to digest the meal can keep you up at night. Eat a smaller dinner earlier in the evening to help your body break down the meal with less effort.

Turn down the temperature
As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room a cool temperature (between 60-67 degrees) can help aid the process of cooling your body.Try turning your thermostat down a few degrees, cracking a window, or investing in a fan to help get your sleeping quarters to a cooler and more sleep-friendly temperature.

Declutter your bedroom
Your room isn’t your gym or your office. To begin associating it with sleep, you need to get all the stuff out that is potential distractions. Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.

At the end of the day, don’t try too hard.
Don’t pressure yourself if you’re having trouble sleep. The harder you “work” at going to sleep, the more elusive it turns out to be. Hide the clock so you’re not checking the time and worrying about the amount of sleep you’re getting. If all else fails, clear your mind of stressful thoughts by getting out of bed and reading or doing something else that’s relaxing for 10 minutes before returning to bed, hopefully feeling more sleepy.