If you are having a hard time sleeping, help is available.
Dr. Drerup gives some tips that can help you make improvements to your sleeping habits, including for those who are suffering from chronic insomnia. The key is often to try to break some patterns you might have developed.
- Keep the same sleep schedule
Your sleep can be improved by making sure you keep a consistent sleep schedule. On the weekends avoid staying up late and sleeping in, and then on Sunday trying to go to sleep at your regular time.
Dr. Drerup explains that they call that social jet lag since it is like you flew to California, and you are now attempting to re-adjust to the time zone difference. So try to keep your sleep times as consistent as possible.
When you sleep in or go to bed early to try to catch up it only results in poor quality and more fragmented sleep. You will typically go to bed a few hours early and then lay in bed wide awake, and continue to associate your bed with not being able to sleep. Ensure that your mattress is supportive to aid sleep. Read this helpful guide: How to choose the right Tempur Pedic mattress.
- Before bedtime spend some quiet time
Quiet time is invaluable. Give yourself 30 to 60 minutes a least of relaxed, quiet time as a buffer before going to bed. Phone screen time should be eliminated and read a book instead, or drink decaffeinated tea, take a warm bath, or listen to some calming music.
- Distract yourself if are unable to sleep
When you cannot fall asleep, get out of bed and do something to try to distract yourself and restart before you return to bed.
You could try a relaxing type of hobby like coloring or knitting, calming yoga stretches, or looking through magazines. Avoid doing any goal-directed activities or things that are too mentally or physically activating like working at the computer, paying bills, or doing house chores.
Although you might be tempted to pick up your phone from your nightstand and then mindlessly scroll through social media, avoid doing this. The blue light that your tablet or phone screen emits can inhibit the natural production of melatonin. This hormone is involved with the internal circadian sleeping clock timing.
- Learn relaxation methods
Learning some relaxation methods like progressive music relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation can all help you fall asleep. You can also visit a sleep specialist who can also help you learn ways to calm your muscles and mind and eliminate or reduce your worries and racing thoughts. It is important to deal with stress in a healthy manner for your overall health as well as your sleep.
Dr. Drerup says that practicing relaxation methods and developing them as a skill throughout the day while you are already calm and feeling good is better than trying to do them at bedtime for the first time.
- Maintain a sleep log
This is similar to the diary you wrote in when you were in middle school.
The details of your lifestyle habits and sleep patterns can be tracked. It can help you identify trends within your behavior. It will also behelp when you are discussing your insomnia with a sleep disorder specialist or your doctor.
If you don’t like to write things down, you can use a smartwatch or smartphone to maintain your log. There is a sample sleep log available from the Sleep Foundation that can be downloaded and printed out. It isn’t necessary for it to be complex in order to work.