I’ve decided that it’s a good thing that breathing is automatic otherwise as a human being I would screw that up. I think it is simply sheer stubbornness that I struggle with sleep.
Unfortunately I am a night owl or I was made that way because my house didn’t get quiet until after 10 pm when the kids were home. Or perhaps it’s because I worked a second shift job for several years.
Who knows but to this day I struggle with sleep.
I’m not one that falls asleep instantly in general but lately the minutes tick by as I lie away, brain wide awake. When I do fall asleep, the middle of the night trip to the bathroom will wake me up enough that it takes a long time to return to sleep. And I can navigate my house without turning lights on.
The struggle is real
As I do with most things in my life, I’ve decided to look into how to get a good night’s sleep.
You know, I work with people talking about sleep hygiene all the time. It is one of the biggest issues I deal with and now I need to deal with it myself. Let’s see what I discovered:
Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe good sleep habits.
Just what are good sleep habits? I’ve found 15 tips to help you get the recommended 8 hours.
1. Get regular – Go to bed and get up at the same time every day regardless of what else is happening.
2. Sleep when you are sleepy
3. Get up and try again – If you aren’t asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something quiet and boring. No bright lights or screen time. These will delay your sleep even further.
4. Avoid caffeine & nicotine – The recommended time is 4-6 hours before you plan to go to bed.
5. Avoid alcohol – It is a misnomer that alcohol helps – alcohol actually interrupts the quality of sleep that you are getting. Again, the recommended time is 4-6 hours before bed.
6. Bed is for sleeping – Keep your bed for sleep or sex – not TV or screen time. This one is hard for me because my hubby likes TV on when he goes to bed.
7. No naps – Dang. I like naps.
8. Sleep rituals – Developing a ritual so your body knows it is time to fall asleep can be helpful. Relaxing stretches or a cup of caffeine-free tea for 15 minutes before bed can be a ritual.
9. Bath time – A hot bath 1-2 hours before bed can make you feel sleepy.
10. No clock-watching – Checking the clock during the night can wake you up.
11. Use a sleep diary – For about 2 weeks so you can track where the issues are and what is working for you.
12. Exercise – It’s good to do but the caution is for strenuous exercise 4 hours before bed. Strenuous exercise can stimulate you enough where falling asleep may be difficult.
13. Eat right – That means a healthy well-balanced diet.
14. The right space – Make sure your bed and blankets are comfortable. And that the space a sanctuary where you can truly relax.
15. Keep your daytime routine the same
Change takes time. Decide on one or two things to try to see how they work. As you add good habits to your life and your night time routine gets better, changes may be seen in other parts of your life.
I, myself, am going to try a few of these to see if I will be able to get my sleep patterns back to something normal and get more than 4-6 hours each night. I wonder how much more productive I will be if I can get the 7-8 hours that are recommended.
Of course, even getting good sleep hygiene is all about balance. So do your best and try not to beat yourself up if you “fail”. It is simply a lesson in what not to do.
I’ll try to do the same.
Until next time,