It’s late, you’re excited to get some sleep when all hell breaks loose. Your mouth is dry, your brain’s running a mile a minute, and you can’t get comfortable. You’re having trouble sleeping and here’s a few life hacks to help:
- Set up a routine or bed time ritual. Have you ever noticed that guardians go through the same notions when putting their kids to bed? For example: Bath time, jammies, story, sleep. This repetition of events let’s your brain know it’s time to wind down. Come up with your own bed time ritual! Make sure it’s soothing, low energy, and something you can do every night. (Some soothing activities that you might look into: Drinking a cup of warm milk, yoga, playing classical or soft music [aim for things without a fast tempo or words], taking a warm bath or shower, light a few candles, meditation, a call to your parents or significant other, cuddling with a pet, getting into your pajamas, journaling.)
- Avoid drinking anything caffeinated before bed. This includes sodas, coffees, and energy drinks. Caffeine helps your brain clock in overtime. Your mind screams, “PARTY” as your sleepy body craves sleep. Put down the Starbucks at least a few hours before it’s time to hit the hay.
- Your bed, as many people say jokingly, is one of your best friends. We never want to leave it! And that’s a major problem. The activity you use your bed for should be limited to what you traditionally think of as “bed activities.” Don’t study in your bed or spend time in it while you’re awake if you don’t have to. Using your bed for sleeping will help your brain begin to associate it with rest instead of the other 10,000 things you could be doing there.
- Also, take the time to make your bed in the morning. By making your bed, turning down the covers at night becomes a part of your ritual. It signifies the end of yesterday and starting fresh- don’t sleep on past problems.
- One of the major characteristics of insomnia is the overactive mind. Keep a pen and paper by your bed so you’re prepared when inspiration strikes. Instead of dwelling on how great your ideas are, write them down, let them go, and deal with them in the morning.
- The time you go to sleep at night is important and a part of your ritual. Have you ever noticed how exhausted everyone is on Mondays? It’s because the weekend is the time to “catch up” on sleep for many people. What most don’t know is that you can’t make up on lost sleep. That’s like not eating for seven days and then eating a week’s worth of food in one day to try and compensate. Your body needs sleep and it’s recommended you keep the same bed time and wake-up time every day. Trying to catch up on sleep throws your body’s schedule off; That’s why Mondays hurt so badly.
- When it comes to food and sleeping you’ve got to get it just right. Going to sleep on a full stomach can cause indigestion, heartburn, nightmares, and flat out insomnia. But nothing says, “WAKE UP” like a growling stomach either. Eat enough throughout your day and try to give yourself an hour or more between a meal and sleep. If you’re hungry, a light snack before your bedtime ritual should be fine.
- If worse comes to worst and sleep is simply not in the cards, you might want to seek professional help. Persistant insomnia can be more than just annoying and some people can benefit from a therapist or doctor’s intervention.