Sleep is something we do every day and yet, it’s maintenance can be overlooked. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, a decrease in “good sleep” may be noticed but fall to the bottom of our task list. The benefits of sleep can improve not only mood but our brain and body health. Sleep disturbances can include but are not limited to, lying in bed for hours before falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night and unable to fall asleep, or tossing and turning throughout the night. Such interruptions can cause feelings of fatigue throughout the day, lowered mood, and slowed reaction times and mental processes. Additionally, lack of sleep and decrease in quality can enhance symptoms of preexisting conditions such as physical illnesses, anxiety, and depression. Here are 5 quick tips to increase the quality of your sleep include:
– Set consistent wake and bed times: Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day helps to set your body clock and prepare your brain for sleep
– Wait one hour after eating and exercising before bed: Even though you may feel tired after eating a large meal or exercising, waiting at least an hour after these activities to fall asleep gives your body and brain a chance to wind down from the stimulation of exercise and digest your food before it focuses on getting quality sleep.
– Eliminate/Limit bed activities: Dedicate your bed to sleep and eliminate activities such as watching TV and using electronics. Research suggest limiting the bed’s use to sleep and intimacy help train your brain and body to be prepared for sleep once you lay down.
– Make your bedroom attractive for sleep: Who can resist clean sheets and fluffy pillows? Making up your bedroom in a way that’s inviting for sleep helps your body wind down. Keeping your bedroom cool and dark is also helpful.
– Limit naps: Napping throughout the day interrupts our body’s natural sleep cycle. After a long day of work, a nap can be tempting but will cause you to be more awake later in the evening when you should be winding down. Start by refraining from naps after 4pm and slowly cut back.
Sleep Hygiene Therapy employs a variety of mind and body practices to address specific sleep concerns. If you notice symptoms of decrease sleep quality impacting your life, research shows individual therapeutic sleep interventions to be helpful in the treatment of sleep disturbances and teach of health sleep habits. Please call us at (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services.
Author: Ashley M. Smith, M.S.