How Best To Get Yourself to Sleep — And Stay Asleep

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One in three people has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. When we don't get enough sleep, we may end up facing physical, psychological, and social consequences. It may be difficult to focus and concentrate during the day. It is hard to truly apply yourself when you are drained from lack of rest. Here are 12 strategies that may help you improve your sleep:

1Prepare for Bed With Calming Activity, Not Stimulating Activity

Watching television, playing video games, and having an emotionally intense argument are not activities that lead to a good night’s sleep. Instead, try reading, taking a warm bath, drinking caffeine-free tea, or listening to calming music before going to bed.

2Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine, and Booze Before Bed

Taking in caffeine right before bed is really self-sabotage and sends your body a confusing message. Additionally, while alcohol may help you fall asleep, it disrupts the quality of your sleep and should also not be a sleep solution.

3Deep Breathing

We often spend our days with shallow breathing. This type of breathing holds stress in the body. When you lie down to sleep, slow down your breathing by taking deep cleansing breaths to send your body the message that it's time to relax.

4Progressive Muscle Relaxation

As you lie down, focus on intentionally relaxing each muscle in your body. When you are so stressed about trying to sleep, you end up holding tension in your back, neck, or face, making it even more difficult to sleep. Go through each area of your body and relax your muscles.

5Move Clocks Out of View

It creates more stress if you spend the night watching the time pass. Turn clocks away from your bed to reduce the pressure of anticipation. 

6Do Not Nap and Do Not Sleep In

When you take naps during the day (or sleep in longer than usual), you will experience difficulty staying on a regular sleep schedule. You are creating a pattern that communicates to your body when it should sleep.

7Try To Limit the Noise, Heat, and Light in Your Room

Television, uncomfortable temperatures, and music can be stimulating and take your energy and focus away from relaxing. Additionally, if the room is bright, you may find yourself focusing on things you see instead of allowing yourself to unwind.

8Address Your Stress During the Day

Often those who suffer from sleep problems experience a lot of worry and anxiety. Work to actively solve the problems that are creating stress for you. Also learn to let go of the things that are beyond your control. By finding ways to handle your stress during the day, you will be less stressed at night.

9Work Out During the Day

Exercising right before bedtime can actually make insomnia worse. You may feel more energized and instead of relaxing, your body may be charged up for more activity.

10Reduce Time You Spend in Bed When Awake

If you journal in bed, read in bed, and watch TV in bed, your bed is associated more with activity than rest. When you cannot sleep, getting out of bed to do activities — instead of remaining in bed — will help. 

11If You Continue To Have Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep, You Should Seek Professional Help

Whether your sleep challenges are more medical or psychological, there is help available.

12Adopt Positive Thinking

If you embrace the idea that your situation is hopeless, you will contribute to your sleep challenges. There is hope. Your sleep may not become identical to others, but you can experience a higher quality of sleep.

Tags: healthy, Self Care

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Written By

Nedra Glover Tawwab

Nedra Glover Tawwab, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, MSW, LCSW is a content creator, writer, and sought-after relationship expert. For more wisdom from Nedra, follow her on Instagram or check out her website, See Full Bio

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