If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep or not sleeping as deeply as you’d like to, it might be time to reconsider your sleep habits. If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, your thoughts and behaviors around sleep can certainly contribute to insomnia. Learning about good sleep habits can go a long way toward helping you achieve a restful night’s sleep. Follow these steps below to start building a better sleep plan.
1. Maintain a consistent sleep-wake schedule
In order to achieve the best sleep possible, you need to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning—yes, even on weekends.
The circadian rhythm of your body operates on a fixed loop, synchronizing itself with dawn and dusk. Consistency in sleep and waking hours can help with long-term sleep quality, and soon enough you might not even need an alarm!
2. Set the mood
Create a safe, cool place for you to fall asleep every night. The temperature of your body and the bedroom can have a significant impact on sleep quality. Try out several temperatures to see which one is most comfortable for you.
You can also start a practice of meditation to help relax your brain and your body for restful sleep. Meditation before bed can promote the relaxation response and decrease the over-activation of the amygdala. It’s important to practice every night and make relaxation a part of your bedtime routine.
3. Get Out of Bed
One mistake people often make is staying in bed once they have awoken in the middle of the night. It’s important not to lie in bed willing yourself to fall asleep. It conditions your brain to be awake in bed, rather than sleeping.
If you truly can’t seem to fall asleep after 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet activity. Try reading, watching TV, or anything that is relaxing and not too stimulating. When you’re feeling tired and your eyes are heavy, head back to bed.
To be a successful sleeper, you need to set yourself up for success. Build a sleep plan that works for you and your body. If you still find yourself struggling, it might be time to find a qualified therapist to help.
At DC Metro Sleep and Psychotherapy, we are trained in behavioral sleep medicine. This means we treat sleep problems from a behavioral perspective, and we are trained to treat nightmares. Feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and get you on the path to better sleep.