10 Tips for Better Sleep

10 Tips to get a better night's rest

1. Set a schedule
Establish a regular sleep schedule and maintain it every day of the week. Try not to sleep in more than an hour, even on your off days. Log sleep patterns in a sleep diary daily (example: https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/sleep-diary.pdf)

2. Reduce the number of hours spent in bed
Let’s say you’re currently spending 8 hours in bed, but only actually sleeping for 5 of those hours. Start by reducing the total amount of time spent in bed to 5 hours. Once you’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep within the 5-hour time frame, you can begin gradually extending the amount of time spent in bed until you are able to get a full night’s rest.

3. Don’t force yourself to fall asleep
If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes after getting into bed, go into a different room and do something calming. Try reading a book, meditating, drawing, or writing in a journal. Avoid electronics or anything else that’s stimulating and could lead to becoming more awake. Once you notice your body starting to feel tired, get back in bed and try falling asleep again. Repeat as needed.

4. Only use your bed for sleeping
If your body learns to associate your bed with sleep, you’ll start to feel tired as soon as you lie down. Using your phone, doing work, watching TV, or other waking activities in bed can have the opposite effect—causing your brain to become more alert.

5. Make your bedroom a sacred space
Help your brain associate your room with Zen by introducing soothing elements such as candles, plants, essential oils, cozy pillows & blankets.

6. Stop napping!
Even when you’re exhausted and desperate for shuteye, napping during the day will make sleep more difficult at night. Naps that are over an hour long, or those that are later in the day, are especially harmful to sleep hygiene.

7. Avoid electronic use before bed
Ideally, no screen use for a full hour before getting into bed. Meditating or other mindfulness exercises that help you wind down are a good substitute.

8. Cover up any lights in your room
Even something as tiny as the lights on your cable box can stimulate the brain, causing you to feel more alert. A sleeping mask is a good back up option if your room lets in a lot of light. Also consider ordering a white noise machine if your sleep is often disturbed by sound.

9. Diet and exercise. Limit caffeine intake to the morning
Ultimately, allowing yourself to feel fatigue later in the day will help you when it comes time for bed. Incorporating gentle exercise like yoga, stretching or walking (in moderation) can help your body expend excessive energy—just not too close to bedtime!

10. Don’t be afraid of feeling tired!
Improving sleep hygiene may cause an increase in tiredness at first, but eventually will result in more sound sleep and increased energy levels. Sleep hygiene is designed to help you sleep more efficiently, and that may require feeling fatigued while your body adjusts to a new schedule.

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