Living your daily routine is difficult with disrupted sleep patterns. Most people would be shocked if they actually realized the impact of a disrupted sleep routine. Think of it this way, if people with severe mental disorders experience stronger symptoms when they didn’t get enough sleep, your own minor mental disorders are being exacerbated in the same way. The next time you catch yourself saying something you didn’t want to say, doing something you felt compelled to do but regretted later; think about how that situation could have been avoided with a good sleep schedule. What you need are some changes in your lifestyle to help you relax your mind and put you to sleep at the right point of the day. Here are some easy tips to improve your sleeping habits:
- Establish a good routine:
A good routine is valuable to humans from very early in life and this is as true for adults as it is for babies, so try to establish a good bedtime routine. It is suggested that you eat your last main meal no later than 6 pm and couple of hours before you wish to sleep, you should try a combination of calming pastimes. I recommend reading because reading can be used to improve sleep routines while making you smarter and more successful in life. Reading fiction is a great way to allow your judgmental, analytical mind to slow down before bed. If you suffer from social jetlag or self-induced bedtime procrastination you need to address your sleep routine as soon as possible because sleep patterns that are out of whack can sometimes be worse than insomnia.
- Try some light exercise:
Half an hour of walking, stretching or yoga is a great way to relax – so try one of these activities before your evening meal and it should help later when you wish to settle in the evening. Meditation is also a great idea and is something that you can try later in the day or evening. I usually recommend keeping your mornings reserved for weight training, aerobics, HIIT, MRT, etc. while your evenings would ideally feature softer movements like tai chi or yoga.
- Reading, writing and other calming activities:
Television and chatting on the phone can both interfere with relaxation due to the nature of the stimulus you are receiving either in the form of blue light or phone electromagnetic radiation, so when it gets near your chosen bedtime consider playing a board game, reading or writing a journal instead. Board games have fallen out of style but if you are a millenial or younger, you should definitely give them a go because they are absolutely amazing at creating bonds and fulfilling experiences that do not interfere with your sleep whereas becoming a zombie in front of your XBox is only going to compound the issue due to the significant amount of blue light. If you really desire consuming entertainment from a screen at the very least invest in a pair of good blue blocking glasses to prevent the inevitable interference blue light will add to your natural body’s sleep rhythm.
Journals can give you a good outlet for any feelings that you need to express which may have accumulated during the day and they also help when trying to discover patterns or links to restless nights. The key is to move away from sources of blue light and allow your body’s natural sleep response to kick in. It will take time and perseverance considering how many sources of distraction we have in modern times. Netflix, Smartphones & Playstations have probably been the largest contributors to the bedtime procrastination epidemic around the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love these technologies but in today’s world, we need to become more mindful of their place in our lives and allow room for digital detoxing before we turn into sleep starved zombies operating at a fraction of our actual human potential.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime:
Do not drink or eat foods that contain caffeine a few hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant which enhances a person’s mental or physical performance. It is found in many beverages and common food that we eat like coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa and cola. Coffee perks you up at the start of the day, but if taken 3 to 4 hours before bedtime it will keep you awake.
- Don’t worry, be happy:
If you have problems to worry about, your sleep will be affected. Set your mind with happy thoughts when going to sleep. The moment you get into bed just put your worries in your pocket and when you wake up you can take it out and think about fixing the problem the next day. I mean this literally. Mentally visualize taking all your problems for the day and placing them outside your bedroom or in an imaginary vault before you hit the pillow. This simple mental hack is a surprisingly effective way to improve your sleep.
- Have a balanced lifestyle:
If you stay all day being inactive, going to sleep will be difficult for you. Staying dormant and doing nothing at all causes bad sleep. Being active makes you sleep better.
- Do not oversleep:
Adults only need an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep in a day. Oversleeping or hypersomnia will affect your health adversely.
- Limit your intake of alcohol:
Some people take a bottle of beer before going to sleep. This makes it easy for them to go to sleep. One is enough but anything more than that is too much. Alcohol is a strong depressant that slows brain activity, and too much of it may cause you to have more sleep problems. Alcohol dependancy may also occur.
- Get involved in leisure activities:
Spending time in leisure moments refreshes your mind as well as your body. Taking a walk at the park, singing a song, creating some work of art, or playing a game can ease your mind and will make you sleep well during the night.
- Make your bedroom a convenient place to sleep:
No one likes to sleep in a messy room. You can make adjustments to your bedroom that you can be comfortable with. This means that if you are bothered by a light from a lamppost outside your window, you can simply cover it with a curtain. Change your sheets regularly and clean your room everyday.
Bathing is a fantastic way to relax, particularly with your favorite scented bath oil or foam. You could also try some Dead Sea or Epsom salts or some lavender or rose essential oils – which are renowned for their calming properties.
If you are lucky enough to have a partner who is willing to give you an occasional massage then take full advantage, as this is a wonderful way to relax. However, you can also learn self-massage techniques and even simple things like rubbing your scalp with circular motions can help ease headaches and stress.