- Set a consistent bedtime. Sleep patterns improve when there is a consistent bed time and wake up time. Our bodies like routine.
- Stop viewing TV or devices about 1 hour prior to going to bed. Screen time stimulates the brain and produces dopamine. Rather than helping you fall asleep it causes you to stay awake. Have you heard of light lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder? The same blue light technology that’s in a light lamp to help with SAD is also inside device screens. The purpose is to stimulate the brain, not to calm it down. The more you take a break from your devices and screen time, it allows the brain to wind down and prepare for better sleep.
- Use a battery operated alarm clock. Sound old school? Most people I know use their cell phones for alarm clocks. It’s more tempting to keep checking your phone when you sleep next to it. This makes it difficult to be away from your device. The Electric Magnentic Field/Cellular energy that comes from cell phones will drain your energy. Have you seen the videos of the chia plants next to cell phones? It’s good to give your body a break from it. But what if someone needs to get a hold of you? Here are some options. I keep my phone in our master bathroom at night. I can still hear it if it rings. Some people keep their phone in the hall just outside their bedroom door.
- Only associate bed with sleep and intimacy. Don’t get into bed until you’re ready for sleep. If you’re in bed checking your phone, this will stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Some people will use their beds as a work station. Again, you're associating the other items with your bed and not just sleep. If you’re with your partner in bed, be focused on each other. Have you seen couples on TV with their devices in each of their hands in bed? That prevents them from connecting with each other through conversation and sexual intimacy. My husband and I purposely don’t have a TV in our bedroom. The bedroom is our place where we can relax, get centered, and connect with each other.
- If you're tossing and turning, get out of bed. Get out of bed and write down what’s on your mind. Is it something you need to do? Writing it down will allow the paper to be responsible for it rather than having it regurgitate in your brain over an over again. Some people will keep a pad of paper and a pen on their night stand to write things down to have it more accessible.
- Journal. Journal helps to clear the mind. I call it the mind dump. It’s a way to de-clutter what’s been held inside. This helps to not have to think about it when you fall asleep.
- Turn on a soft light. We have lamps in our bedroom with soft lighting. When we get ready for bed we turn on the soft lights on rather than our overhead light. This helps to calm the optic nerves.
- Read a boring book. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and read a boring book. Not on your device but a physical book with paper pages.
- Take a hot bath or shower. This helps to relax the muscles and release tension.
What helps you sleep better?
Thanks for reading and please share with someone who could benefit from this. If these tips do not work, please consult a physician.
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT & Coach
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