Sleep affects the areas of the brain responsible for memory, concentration and mood. Sleep or lack of sleep impacts our ability to function at work, at school, at home, and especially in relationships. When we do not get enough sleep we find ourselves irritable, impatient, overwhelmed, and of course tired. For simple tips on improving your sleep read on.
1. Limit your caffeine intake. Pay particular attention to the amount of caffeine ingested close to bedtime. If you are having difficulties sleeping, do not consume caffeine after 6 pm. This time may need to be adjusted to earlier in the day.
2. Have a consistent bed-time and wake-time, even on weekends and holidays.
3. Do not exercise too close to bedtime. Exercise increases endorphins and these do not help with sleep. Exercise is good to promote sleep, but earlier in the day.
4. Do not eat a large meal too close to bedtime. Digestion and sleep are enemies, despite the naps we all take after a good Christmas dinner.
5. The bedroom is for sleep or sex. Banish late night stimulants in the bedroom such as TV and other electronic devices like phones and laptops. There is evidence suggesting that bright, back lit screens tell our brain to “wake up” rather than “go to sleep”. Unplug yourself and your devices long before you try to sleep.
6. Do not play alarm clock tag. When your alarm rings – get out of bed and get going.
7. Do not consume excessive alcohol before bed. Alcohol acts as a stimulant while in the process of drinking.
8. No pets in the bedroom. Keep Rover and Kitty in another part of the house. You may not think they are waking you up, but they probably are doing just that. Experiment for a few days and see if it changes your sleep.
9. The bedroom should be dark and cool. Invest in black-out draperies to keep bright light out. Lower the thermostat. If your partner snores invest in earplugs.
10. If you wake-up in the middle of the night, don’t stay in bed for more than 30 minutes. Get up and do something boring. No TV. Try stretching and then get back in bed. Focus on your breathing. Count backwards from 1000 by 7. Plan your dream vacation. If your mind is engaged in other activities, you won’t be able to worry about the next day, overwhelming project, relationship issues, etc.
If you’re constantly plagued by a lack of sleep, and you don’t know why, see your doctor. If you know what’s keeping you up at night, whether it’s a personal relationship, your career or academic performance, and you want to talk to someone, contact Annette Poechman. Listening, guiding, caring.
It’s all about you and getting a good night’s sleep!