I know there is a lot on everyone’s mind right now. Between the election, the pandemic, and lord knows what else you have going on in your life, it’s a stressful time. If you had asked me last month if I thought I’d be able to sleep through this chaos, my response would have been a resounding no. Luckily, while working through my depression and anxiety, I really honed in on and perfected my sleep hygiene.
I first heard the term from my neurologist earlier this Fall. Sleep hygiene is defined as a consistent bedtime routine and daily schedule that promotes consistent, uninterrupted sleep. My doctor asked me how I was sleeping and of course, I explained I wasn’t sleeping well. He then questioned my bedtime routine. I thought I was doing a good job, but when I researched more into sleep hygiene, I realized there was major room for improvement.
Here are three easy ways to improve your sleep quality!
Your bed is for two things: sleep and sex
This one was hard to wrap my head around. I often would get into bed to scroll through my phone, journal, read, watch tv, and catch up with my husband. I knew vaguely that reading your cell phone before bedtime was bad so I’d try to read instead. I thought that was okay but nope, I was wrong.
Your mind makes associations between spaces and behaviors. Similar to how experts suggest working in a room separate from your living area, your bed is no different. Training your mind that the bed is for sleep and sex is important.
So now, I journal and read in a separate room before I come to bed. I curl up on my office couch, spend time reading and journaling, and then head to bed. It’s really made a huge difference in the way I sleep.
Similar to above, if you have a routine, you can train your mind to understand when it’s time to go to sleep. Experts suggest a 30-45 minute winddown routine. During this time, you do activities that you find calming or getting you ready for bed.
For me, this looks like changing into PJs, washing my face, brushing my teeth, journaling, and then reading on my office couch. Usually about 15 minutes into my reading, I get sleepy and move to my bed. Falling asleep in usually 10 minutes or less.
One thing you may not notice on my winddown routine? Screen time. Experts say 30 minutes before bed you should avoid screens. The lights and colors promote brain activity vs calming your mind. So, I’ve been staying off my phone and it’s made a huge difference.
The final secret weapon of my sleep hygiene is are my sleepcasts. In my last post, I talked briefly about my love for headspace and its meditations. One thing I failed to mention is their sleepcasts. No, this is not a sponsored post, I’ve just truly never found one single item that seems to work so well for sleep.
The sleepcasts are 30 minutes (but I never get that far!) of someone guiding you through a dreamlike place. You can choose to wander through forests, lagoons, rainy days, and even a library. I can’t recommend these enough!
To find the sleepcasts, just download Headspace and click on the sleep tab. Then scroll to sleepcasts and choose your adventure.
Over the past month, I’ve started sleeping soundly and through the night. Getting good sleep impacts so many aspects of your mental health, it’s so important. I hope these tips help you get more sleep so we can all feel a little better on the harder days!
Jack: This handsome lab mix is such a happy boy. He loved everyone during out shoot and was happy to sit and show off all his best angles. Jack has some serious athletic ability so he’ll need a six-foot fence in his forever home. Jack lives with another dog in his home and would be okay with another big dog or a solo pup. He’s ready for his forever!
Saylor is currently in a foster-to-adopt home and we are hoping it works out for her. You can check out the rest of the Fetching Tails Foundation adoptable dogs here.