Sleep is an important part of our daily well-being that many people take for granted. Sleep can affect memory, mood, alertness, and several other key parts of daily functioning. Some factors may impact sleep like work and school, making it a difficult task to control. Sleep can be especially frustrating to regulate in the wintertime when the sun sets early. There are many factors to keep in mind that can increase your chances of a better quality sleep.
Decrease caffeine intake
Since caffeine is a stimulant, drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee, energy drinks or caffeinated tea too late into the day can impact your sleep pattern. Caffeine will make you energetic when it’s time for your body to wind down.
Spend less time on screens before bed
Too much screen time right before bed can trick your brain into thinking it’s supposed to stay awake. The blue light from the screen inhibits melatonin production, decreasing your ability to fall asleep. Social media can also be very stimulating and anxiety-inducing before bedtime.
Engage in physical activity
Physical activity reduces stress and increases your body’s need to sleep, making it easier to fall asleep. It also produces endorphins, hormones that makes you feel good! However, physical activity should be avoided right before bed, as it can make you feel more awake immediately after a workout.
Create a dark sleep space
Our brains make associations with many routines and habits we may not even be aware are affecting our sleep! Excess screen time in bed can train your brain into thinking that whenever you are in bed, it’s screen time too. The same goes for doing work or school in bed, it’s best to do it somewhere outside of your bedroom or at a desk and save your bed for sleeping.
Avoid eating too late
Eating a lot right before bed can make it harder to fall asleep as your body is also processing digestion. This doesn’t mean you should go to bed hungry. Yet, it can be helpful to know this so that you can be intentional about snacking before bed.
Develop a routine
Your body will react better to a constant routine, and therefore will eventually understand the appropriate times for sleep and waking. Understandably, things like work, social life, and unpredictable events get in the way. However, take this as a guideline to better structure your week in the most consistent way possible so that your sleep schedule will become easier to maintain.
Stress tends to be difficult to control. However, if you’re having anxiety about planning something or making a decision, for example, it can be helpful to write down your thoughts on paper before bed. This way you can deal with these issues the next day, instead of staying up all night thinking about it. Meditation and breathing exercises are also great techniques to reduce anxiety and become more present with your thoughts before bed.
Seeing a counselor can also be a very effective and active way to decrease your stress and manage your emotions. Book an online counseling appointment with our counselor Joseph!