I’ve always had an on and off relationship with sleep. Most of the time, my sleep is near perfect. But I go through phases where it’s impossible to sleep for weeks at a time. I recently went through one of these phases and tried everything– including just about every over the counter supplement and prescription, and none of it helped.
In retrospect, I think the medications were having the opposite effect on me, and I worked really hard to develop better sleep habits for the future. Keep reading for my top tips to get the best sleep each night:
- Have a bedtime routine that your body gets used to. This might mean a hot shower or a meditation. Try not to disrupt this routine.
- Watch what you eat. I used to always want a snack before bed, but realized eating things with any sugar in them was keeping me awake. Now I make sure not to eat anything 2 hours before bed.
- Go to bed at the same time. When I have good sleep habits, my body falls asleep and wakes up at almost the same time every day. Disrupting this can throw me off for nights after!
- Have scheduled night mode on your phone. The setting will change your screen from bright blue light to a darker, more yellow light. If you are looking at your phone, this will help prevent the bright light from keeping you up.
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. This will silence your phone so you don’t feel like you have to keep checking notifications. You can set up DND so that multiple calls from the same number or from your favorite contacts will still go through, in case of emergency.
- Set your own phone curfew. I’ve recently started my own phone curfew to stop looking at my phone at 9pm. This prevents me from mindlessly scrolling social media or texting when it’s time to wind down.
- Try journaling to help with anxiety. If you feel worried about something and its keeping you awake, try writing down what is causing you to worry. Putting it down on paper can help you leave the worry there, instead of continuing to think about it.
- Find a distraction. A lot of people say to try to read a book if you can’t sleep, but I’ve found watching mindless TV also helps me. Its just enough to keep my mind off other things but still allowing myself to wind down.
- Deal with stress during the day. Try to find ways to de-stress during the day– whether it is exercise, yoga, or talking to a therapist. The only thing worse than having anxiety is having anxiety and not sleeping.
- Ensure your room is dark and quiet. Things like blackout window panels and sound machines can help eliminate environmental distractions that might keep you up.
- Ensure your room is the right temperature. Adjust the temperature of the room or your bedding to make sure you aren’t overheating when you are trying to sleep.
- Try a weighted blanket. Things like weighted blankets or even a heavy cotton quilt can help relax your body when its time to sleep.
If you have tried everything and still can’t sleep, it is definitely worth talking to your doctor. Sleep is so important to your physical and mental well being and you owe it to yourself to be able to get a good nights sleep!