Although we live in a world of constant multi-tasking, busy schedules, and being overworked, why is it that so many of us find it hard to fall asleep at night? Most of the time, once we lay our heads down, our minds become busy and we find ourselves thinking about everything we’ve pushed off throughout the day. Sleep disturbance can have an adverse effect on emotion regulation, cognitive functioning, and our emotional and physical well-being. Quality and quantity of sleep are important and can even affect our lifespan.
I find myself feeling more vulnerable to negative emotions and less likely to complete my tasks and goals when I’m running low on sleep. In a perfect world, getting a good night’s rest every night would be achievable, and we’d all wake up every morning feeling refreshed. With busy schedules, a lot of distractions, and technology, this is often difficult for most. Here are some ideas you can try to help improve your quality of sleep:
- Start by creating a night-time routine that fits your needs and helps you feel relaxed before getting into bed.
- Go to sleep at a consistent time each evening even on the weekends. Engage in the same ritual each night and get up at the same time in the morning each day. Aim for giving yourself anywhere from 30-60 minutes to fall asleep.
- Avoid certain things before bed. Substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and certain types of foods should be avoided 3-4 hours before bed. Exercising should be avoided several hours before bed as well.
- Find moments throughout your day to schedule in time to overthink or worry. Write things down and tear them up and move on with your day.
- Use your bed for sleep only.
- Create a calming, soothing environment, by choosing sounds, scents, lighting, and temperature that is comfortable for you.
- Get out of bed and distract with a quiet activity such as reading a book or grabbing a drink of hot tea or eating a light snack. You can try to put on a guided relaxation or meditation, anything that has low volume and little change in voice tone and background noise.
- Look into vitamins and natural sleep aids to help with falling and staying asleep.
- And last but not least, DO NOT worry about falling back asleep, as this is surely to keep you awake for even longer.