Having trouble falling asleep? Stressed? Can’t sleep well? Here are some tips and tricks to getting a better night’s sleep when you are stressed out.
Have a lot on your mind?
Try writing down all the things you need to remember or things you have to do the next day in a journal. By having them written down, your mind doesn’t need to focus on them while you sleep and you can wake up feeling refreshed.
Worried about waking up in time for the big event tomorrow?
Hide your clock. If you are counting down the minutes, hide your clock so you can’t keep checking. Another way to ensure you wake up is to set two alarms, and even better, on two separate devices. Worried your iPhone won’t wake you up? Set a backup alarm on your iPad or manual alarm clock to ensure that if one doesn’t go off in the morning, the other will.
Stressed out and too tense to sleep?
Try taking deep breaths to calm down. Inhale deeply for ten seconds and feel your lungs expand. Then slowly exhale and feel your body relax. Repeat 10 times or until you feel more relaxed and ready for bed.
Not tired enough?
Drink something warm such as a non-caffeinated tea or warm milk to help you fall asleep. Another trick is to take a warm shower. The heat will help relax your body. Also, pay attention to your caffeine consumption throughout the day. Caffeine throws off our natural body clock. This leads to a delay of your body clock, and less deep sleep. Try to not drink any caffeinated beverages for at least 6 hours before bed.
Exercise also helps regulate our sleeping patterns. Exercising regularly helps your body be tired enough to get deep sleep. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow for much walking throughout the day, then a 30 minute walk after work or school is key in helping maintain a regulated sleep cycle.
Too hot to fall asleep?
Try cooling your room. Your body temperature drops slightly during sleep, so a cool room will signal your body that it’s time for bed. Turning off all lights will help signal your body that it is dark and time to sleep. Having a dark room is very important in getting a good night’s sleep. When it is dark, our body produces melatonin which is a naturally produced hormone which helps you fall asleep. Our melatonin levels are also affected by the amount of sun or light exposure we had during the day. This is because humans have evolved to tell time and regulate lifestyle habits by the sun (and, in turn, light).
The key is to get up and do something else for 15 minutes and then try again. Whether that's cleaning up your room, taking a walk around the house, or reading a book, the choice is up to you. Try to avoid technology right before bed. It’s hard to not watch that extra episode of TV or check your Instagram right before bed, but the blue light from screens decreases your body’s melatonin production and messes up your body’s naturally regulated sleep cycle. If you must check your social media or email before bed, try using amber light. Orange or amber light does not affect the body the same way that blue light does. You can install the program Flux on your computer, which automatically adjusts the brightness and color of your screen before bed to block blue light. The program simply gives your computer a slight orange tint, which will help keep your body on its natural schedule. Another thing to consider is turning off all lights in your house that emit blue light before bed, or getting an orange or red reading lamp to avoid blue light.
This article was originally published on December 14, 2016.
Cover Image by Jodeci Zimmerman