It seems like everyone I talk to doesn’t sleep well, especially my clients. We constantly worry before bed time, the list of the undone is never ending. We are kept up at night by bad memories, “shoulda woulda” scenarios, and the everlasting task list. Some drown all this out with alcohol or other depressant medication “just to get my brain to stop”, others distract themselves with movies, TV, or their social media profiles.
I talk a lot about “Sleep Hygiene” to my clients because it is so important. When I worked at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, I can remember one of the doctors told our patient, “We gotta get you sleeping, if you aren’t sleeping you can’t do anything else”. And he’s right, if you aren’t sleeping well it’s hard to tackle higher order tasks or work towards a “growth plan”.
Here is a short list of research suggested Sleep Hygiene tips:
- No screens at least an hour before bed time (phone, computer, TV, etc)
- No caffeine after noon
- Take a hot bath or shower before bed to relax
- Read a book
- Eat a good meal, drink calming tea like chamomile
- Yoga/stretch or meditate
- Go to bed at the same time each night
- Make sure your room is dark and quiet
There are plenty more that you could find using a simple Google search. I have also talked about a sleep meditation that I use in a previous post, which you can find here, https://mountainmindset.org/2019/03/11/a-book-a-day-keeps-the-nightmares-away/
So this week I have been trying to stick to this list of sleep hygiene tips and it is tough!
Usually all the screens in my house are off from 9-10pm because we are trying to get my son ready for bed. I don’t like him staring at screens anyway being only 4 months old, but we really focus on books and calming activities one hour before his bed time so that he can get a good night sleep. But once I lay down, the screen comes back on. This really is a challenge for me because it feels like its the first time throughout the day I can catch up on emails, texts, phone calls, and yes, social media, without being interrupted.
My plan is to continue to work on this.
One thing that has helped is yoga before bed time. I can usually fit in a few asanas or a longer 20-30 minute practice right after dinner time. This feels great, its like an unwinding from the day. It gives me the pause that I need before I am back at it in the morning.
Right now, sleep is volatile because of my son, but it is still worth it to stick to good bed time routines and also to teach them to my son.
How do you make sure you get a good night sleep?
How do you decompress/hit the pause button each night?
How hard was it stick to or develop a sleep routine?
What effect does a sleep routine have on your mental and physical states?