This is the second post in a two part series on how to get a better night’s sleep. You can read the first post here for more helpful tips.
Falling asleep isn’t always easy, especially when stress, to-do lists, and worry get in the way. Fortunately, there are practical ways to win back bedtime. Here are some tips from Dr. Conrad Iber, MD, Program Medical Director for the University of Minnesota Medical Center’s Fairview Sleep Center, for getting a good night’s sleep.
- Know yourself. Some individuals are programmed with a delayed sleep phase: they go to bed late and sleep late. If that’s the case, they’re just a night owl and any situation requiring early waking is a problem. Try to arrange your schedule accordingly.
- Stay away from bright light. Light—especially when it’s close to the face—increases brain activity. Screens or brightly lit areas provide as much stimulation as a cup of coffee.
- Learn to let go. This doesn’t mean pushing thoughts away or forcing sleep, but letting go of the thinking process. The best way to do this is through mediation or relaxation exercises. Another way is cognitive restructuring: visualize the problem, then visualize releasing it. It takes a little practice, but it’s been proven to work.
- Smelling Relaxation. Scents can be a form of systematic relaxation—similar to meditation—but everyone has to find what works for them. There isn’t a cure-all scent or sound that guarantees relaxation.
- Skip the Sheep. Don’t count: not sheep, not anything. This is too engaging—it requires you stay on task. The only routines that work are no-consequence activities that involve little to no thought.
Getting Enough Sleep- Your Tips and Tricks
What are your tips and tricks for getting enough sleep? Share things like songs you listen to before you sleep, stretches you do before climbing into bed or breathing techniques that you focus on in our comments section below. Everyone enjoys a great night’s rest!