One of the things that can be impacted by stress and anxiety is your sleep. Sleep deprivation causes many things, like lack of focus, lower mood, higher anxiety and struggle with memory (just to name a few). If you are struggling to get good sleep here are some tips for you. Pick one or two to focus on in the next week (don’t try to do them all at the same time as you will likely get overwhelmed)
1) Setting yourself up for a good night sleep starts in the morning – when you get up avoid going on any social media device for at least ½ hour to 1 hour – instead take time to do a calm morning routine and step outside and soak up the sun for 15-20 minutes (this helps set your circadian rhythm – which helps you sleep better at night). If you can get out and soak up the sun for another 15-20 minutes sometime in the early afternoon.
2) Mindfulness/Gentle Yoga – these techniques before bed can be very relaxing and helpful as they help to calm the nervous system
3) Calm bedroom – Create your bedroom to be a calming place, your room should be for sleeping (for your kids that means no homework being done in the bedroom, for you that means no working in your bedroom)
4) Media/devices – avoid consuming media or being on your electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bed
5) Exercise – getting moving has proven benefits of better sleep – consider getting moving earlier on in the day (if you exercise too close to bedtime it can have negative impacts on your sleep)
6) Caffeine can impact your sleep – consider having your last caffeinated beverage between 12-2pm
7) Healthy Eating Habits – not eating too close to bedtime
8) Avoid nicotine and alcohol – both have negative impacts on your sleep
9) Routine – having a daily routine helps with better sleep. Also develop a calming sleep routine that you do each night before bed (taking a shower or bath during this time can be very helpful)
10) Mindfulness – If you are having trouble falling asleep, you have not fallen asleep in 20 minutes get up and do something calming (for example a mindfulness practice). Ensure you keep the lights low and do not use electronic devices during this time. When you feel sleepy go back to bed and try falling asleep again.
11) Avoid napping – if you really need a nap keep it to 20 minutes or less (set an alarm!)
12) Keep a worry journal – have a journal beside your bed where you can write down your worries/thoughts/to do’s before bed or during the night
13) A cooler room aids in better sleep
14) A dark(er) room is best indicated
15) Use ambient noise if needed (or if you need have a completely quiet room) – this one is up to what works best for you