Sleep Hygiene Tips and Tricks
Insomnia and other sleep issues are common among those struggling with mental illness, yet sleep can be a crucial part of recovery.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain functioning slows down, memory is impaired, stress levels rise, and there are many associated health issues such as weight gain and increased blood pressure. Sleep is important!
Keep a sleep schedule.
Establish a regular daily sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at set times. Try not to sleep in more than an hour, even on your days off.
Try to avoid napping.
Naps that are over an hour long, or a late day nap are especially harmful to your sleep hygiene. A healthy sleep schedule should give you enough energy to stay awake throughout the day.
Use your bed only for sleep.
If your brain learns to associate your bed with sleep, you’ll start to feel tired as soon as you lie down. Using your phone, watching TV, or doing other waking activities in bed can have the opposite effect, causing you to become more alert.
Don’t force yourself to sleep.
If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something calming. Read a book, draw, or write in a journal. Avoid your smartphone, computer, TV, or tablet screens, as they are stimulating to your brain and could lead to becoming more awake.
Sleep in a comfortable environment.
It’s essential to sleep in an area that’s adequately quiet, comfortable, and dark. Try using an eye mask, earplugs, fans, or white noise if necessary.
Exercise and eat well.
A healthy diet and exercise can lead to better sleep. However, avoid strenuous exercise and big meals for 2 hours before going to bed.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
Having an evening cappuccino or a glass of wine can affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep, even if they’re used earlier in your day. Remember, caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours, and even decaf coffee has some caffeine!
Thank you to Therapist Aid for the wonderful sleep hygiene inspiration.
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