Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early? Lack of adequate sleep is associated with numerous medical and mental health issues. Here are a few tips to help you get a restful night’s sleep. If you have already tried these tips and continue to experience sleep difficulties, please call us. Our integrative approach can help determine the root of the problem so that we can help you take the appropriate steps improve your sleep.
Several tips that can improve sleep:
- Develop a bedtime ritual or routine – engage in relaxing activities 30 minutes-1 hour before going to sleep. That can include taking a soothing bath, using lavender essential oil, unplugging from screen time, drinking chamomile tea, meditating, or listening to calming music just to name a few examples. If you do choose to read, read something boring instead of something that is enticing since that can prolong your ability to fall asleep. Avoiding anything that can increase your adrenaline prior to going to sleep like exercise or getting into arguments.
- Unplug completely– avoid screen time from your phone, computer, or TV at least an hour before bed. Not only does the light produced from electronics disruptive for your sleep hygiene but participating in screen time can be overstimulating and cause one to have difficulties falling asleep.
- Maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule – you don’t need to wake up and go to sleep exactly at the same time but do try to maintain the sleep schedule 6 days out of the week.
- Food and drink – avoid alcohol, drinking caffeine, or eating before bed. In addition, if you are hungry or drank too many fluids, you’re going to wake up throughout the night. If you are thirsty drinking chamomile tea has shown to promote sleep since it contains the compound known as Apigenin which produces a mild sedative effect.
- Only use your bed for sleep – that is, do not read, watch TV, eat, or work in bed. Sexual activity is the only exception to this rule. On such occasions, the sleep routine is to be followed afterward when you intend to go to sleep.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night DO NOT look at the clock – it will only cause anxiety and stress you out which will make it even more difficult to go back to sleep.
- Keep a journal by your bed– two hours before sleep don’t work or think about work, just leave it for tomorrow. If you are concerned about forgetting your thoughts, keep a journal near you and write it down. Then set the list aside and go back to your bedtime routine.
- Relaxation techniques – this includes doing a mindful sleep meditation, guided imagery, and/or deep breathing techniques to calm your body and your mind. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise to help calm your anxieties, nervous system, reduce stress to obtain a better quality of sleep.
- Inhale through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth to the count of 8. Practice this breathing exercise several times on a nightly basis.
Some of the underlying problems that cause sleep issues can be hormonal, nutritional, or emotional stress. We can help you determine this.