Can you remember a time when you were significantly sleep deprived? The mental and physical “fog” that accompanies insomnia can zap us of our quality of life. If you’ve read my previous blog posts you know how important I believe good sleep is for your mental health. The National Sleep Foundation agrees with me and is sponsoring National Sleep Awareness Week this week March 5-11, 2012. Perhaps it is a good time to evaluate your sleep patterns and habits. Do you suffer from insomnia? If so, you know that sleep deprivation can take its toll on your mood, energy level, and quality of life. Factors such as a new baby, menopause, depression, anxiety, as well as some medical problems can contribute to insomnia. If health related issues are not a cause of your sleep problems, consider the following ways to improve your sleep.
- Clean up your bedroom and use it for sleep and relaxation only. Staring at piles of laundry or bills does not help you relax!
- Determine how many hours of sleep you need to feel rested. How many hours of sleep do you need so you’re not feeling sleepy during the day? A good rule of thumb for adults is 7-9 hours. Kids need much more.
- Establish a regular bedtime and be consistent, even on weekends.
- Look at who’s sleeping in your bed! If there are kids and pets there it may be time to help them learn to sleep in their own bed. ( A topic for another day!)
- Get regular exercise to decrease body tension and symptoms of depression. Less stress means better sleep.
- Be careful of naps. For some people short naps can be rejuvenating. Others find naps interrupt their nighttime sleep.
- Just before bed avoid physical and mental stimulation, including “screens” such as television and computers. ( This is really important for kids too.)
- Develop rituals that signal the end of your day, such as having a cup of herbal tea, prayer or meditation, all behaviors that help shift your thinking from stressful daily tasks to relaxation and sleep.
- Take a warm bath a couple of hours before bedtime to help you relax and induce drowsiness.
Do you have other tips for a good night’s sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation has more information on their website How Sleep Works | National Sleep Foundation – Information on Sleep Health and Safety