A common complaint among most of my clients is the inability to get quality sleep. Inadequate sleep can contribute to depression, anxiety, irritability, and concentration, among others issues. I think we can all relate to rushing through our day and going to bed simply because we cannot stay awake any longer. Many believe they need a good night’s rest, but many don’t prioritize getting a good night’s rest. Accept that you deserve a good night’s rest, that your day is worth clarity and intention. Like all changes that last, it will take commitment, time, and determination to receive the results you want.
Consider making these simple changes to your nightly routine:
Establish a bedtime routine
It is common for children to have a set bedtime routine. At the same time each evening, put toys away, hop in a warm bath, wiggle into comfortable pajamas, brush teeth, read a book, and sing a song. These habits create a signal to the brain that it is almost time to sleep. We often lose this routine as we get older, instead rushing around before falling asleep on the couch or while reading our phones in bed.
Your bedtime routine might include: a quick pick-up of clutter to minimize stress, setting things out for work the next morning; a warm shower or bath; changing into comfortable pajamas; using relaxing, scented lotion; restorative yoga poses; deep meditative breathing; dwelling on what you’re thankful for; or replaying happy moments of the day.
Create a calming bedroom space
Where we retreat at the end of the day should be peaceful and comfortable, aiding in helping us wind down for a good night’s rest. Qualities of a calming space may include: clean sheets, dirty clothes off the floor, a soothing lamp next to the bed, comfortable temperature and soft linens. Determine if you have an appropriate pillow and mattress to suit your needs. Consider using a fan, white noise machine, or dark curtains to eliminate excess noise and light.
Give yourself permission to put down electronics
Screen time – cell phone, computer, television, tablets – too close to bedtime stimulates the brain, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Put your electronics on silent and somewhere you can’t reach. The vibration and bright light of a text or notification not only disturbs sleep but is tempting to check in the middle of the night. For most of us, the worries of the day can be put aside until tomorrow. At night our brains can not think as clearly resulting in exacerbated worries and illogical thinking. Acknowledge that you are not at your best in the evening to tackle life’s issues.
For support and guidance in making changes to your sleep habits, contact Christine Taylor, LCPC at (847) 336-5621 x123. Please consult your doctor before starting or stopping any sleep aid or if you are concerned about your sleep habits.
Check out the following online resources for more information:
The National Sleep Foundation – https://sleepfoundation.org/
American Sleep Association – https://www.sleepassociation.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine – http://www.sleepeducation.org/