Sleeping is an ultimate passive activity, and the least productive period of our day (night). Why is that productive “activity?” It is because it helps both the brain and the body rejuvenate, keeps the body’s immune system strong, and can also help in reducing stress and regulating moods.
The main concern that many people have is how to establish and maintain good habits for the effective and restful sleep – so called good sleep hygiene. The key component here is in managing the symptoms of depression or bipolar illness.
That is evident that everyone has trouble sleeping sometimes, and most of us probably need better and more sleep than we’re getting.
The reason of sleeping problems may be linked to your daily or activities that need to be done in the future, which make you nervous or maybe, you stayed up a little too late, for many reasons.
Sometimes the reason you’re tossing and turning late at night isn’t so clear. You didn’t do any different activity from the previous days, which seems to influence that situation. So, the concern should be why is the struggle with sleep on this particular night?
According to Shelby Harris, Psy.D., director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, the biggest issue is that people don’t have a good separation between day and night anymore, due to the style of living in a 24/7 society, with work or electronics seeping into our home life at night. In such circumstances it is hard to have, just on/off switch and go to sleep, explains Shelby. As it happens, a lack of sleep doesn’t just result in morning baggy eyes or grogginess, but it can dramatically affect your daily habits (eating, exercising, working) and overall health.
The lack of sleeping decreases leptin, the hormone which tells people they’re full and increases ghrelin, that makes them hungry, and, they eat more because they don’t have a strong signal to stop.
Some good news that Dr. Harris shared are linked to the right preparation for sleeping, and here is a list of eight, which will be detailed explained bellow.
- Skip those old-fashioned wives tales
Many that are struggling with bad sleeping use that old wives’ tale (or counting sheep), but Dr. Harris suggested that liquids of any kind should be avoided once you hit the bed. If you even need water to take medication it should be only a sip.
- Do your best to get up at a decent hour on the weekends
During the weekend people are more comfortable and go to bed past noon, which, according to Dr. Harris, is a way of disrupting your sleep schedule for the week. So, it is very important to continue with the same schedule those days as you do in the working days.
In the case, you are getting motivating problems in the weekends that can be the result of habit changing. The best you can do is to pick an early Saturday or Sunday class to attend with a friend, which will not give you an excuse to change the daily routine.
- Keep your bed only for sleep and …
Dr. Harris suggested to not use bed if you’re not sleeping, at least in the period while you should be prepared to go in. If you are living in small studio or apartment and lacking in the furniture you shouldn’t depend on the bed and stay there all the time. Consider investing in a space-efficient or finding a nearby coffee shop to wind down at before coming home and hitting the bed.
- Make sure to exercise, but within a certain timeframe
Even you need to do exercises late-night, Dr. Harris says it’s best to resist if you want a good night’s sleeping, but she recommends avoiding the gym within three hours of bed.
It is very important to not skip the planned workout even 20 minutes of exercise but to be done four to six hours before bedtime.
- Put the phone down
Blue light, emitted by most of the electronics, suppresses melatonin before bedtime, which is called ‘hormone of darkness’ and helps inducing sleepiness. Exposing to blue light within one to two hours before bedtime, suppress melatonin which causes difficulties to fall asleep.
Listening to music or audio books through your smartphone is possible, but it is recommended turning the device over.
- Stop checking your email
If you are tempting to look at your emails, it is better not to do it before bed, because, according to Dr. Harris, this is one of the biggest sleep offenders of all. Her advice is to prioritize issues that must be finished, as not everything needs to be done before bed. This makes it difficult for our brains to wind down and relax.
- Resist the nap temptation
If you have trouble sleeping it is not recommended to take naps during the day, because they will provide you with too much energy in the late hours.
- Don’t force it
If you can’t sleep it is better to not lay in bed, instead, get up after approximately 20 minutes and do something quiet and relaxing in dim light until you’re sleepy. Be relaxed, the more you worry about it, the worse it will get.
- Avoid noise (such as television, radio or computer) at bedtime
- Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress
- Keep the bedroom as dark as possible
- Try a relaxation technique to target and reduce tensions
- Relieve psychological tension.