with our depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. Mental health can also affect our sleep habits. Depression is known to interfere with normal sleep patterns. Nightmares can be an issue with mental health concerns. So it makes sense that we want to work on our sleep so as to improve our mental health just as much as we work on other things. Here are some sleep hygiene tips to help you establish good sleep. Remember sleep is a pattern, so these things need to be done consistently to help.
1. Have a set bed time and wake up time. Try to go to bed and wake up about the same time every day, even on weekends.
2. Allow 7-9 hours for sleep every night. Sleep is just as important to pencil in as that 9 am meeting. The average adult needs somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of restful sleep. If you find there isn’t enough time for this amount of sleep, you may consider re-evaluating your daily schedule and see what can be cut out or changed to allow more time for sleep.
3. Limit the amount of caffeine you consume daily. Even if you don’t think caffeine affects you, it most likely is reducing the amount of deep sleep you get. Caffeine can take several hours to completely leave your system. If you’re drinking it throughout the day, or later in the day, there is a very good chance it is impacting your sleep.
4. Use the 1 or 2 hours before bed as a time to relax. You may choose to read a book, take a bath, or listen to soothing music. You may also enjoy meditation or relaxation videos or recordings. Here are a few of my favorites from YouTube:
Color Healing Meditation
Meditation for Self Healing
Perfect Deep Sleep
5. Try to limit the amount of TV, computer, or phone use before bed. Also, turn off unneeded lights in your home. The light can stimulate your brain, making it difficult to go to sleep.
6. Work on the stress in your life. If you’ve had a bad day, are worried about something, or just can’t seem to get it all done, you may need to work through those things in order to get better sleep. Working on a healthy stress management routine can be beneficial.
7. Allow several hours between a big meal and bedtime. Your body needs to work hard to digest food. If you’ve eaten a big meal before bed, it may keep you up at night.
8. Be sure to talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you look at your sleep habits more closely and help you with a plan to improve your sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important functions we have. It can help or hurt so many things in our life depending on the amount and quality of sleep we get. Start evaluating your sleep routine and make changes where you need to.