Do you have a hard time shifting to sleep mode once you're in bed? Are you constantly thinking about the day that just ended - and what's on your plate tomorrow? Do you often wake up and have mini-panic attacks about something happening in your life? You're not alone. Struggles with sleep are real and commonplace - people are sleeping less now than they did at any point in recent history.
Thankfully, there are SIMPLE ways to enable you to both fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Some require fundamental habit changes that may not be easy - others are quick wins that you can adopt immediately.
Blue light from your phone and computer blocks melatonin, a hormone that helps your body prepare for sleep
Create "phone rules" for bed - for example, removing them entirely (I leave mine in the kitchen - it took a couple of nights to adjust, but the results have been great), or only allow a certain number of minutes with it in bed. The same goes for laptops. I've also instituted a no laptop or TV in bed rule - reading only! The amount of time it takes to fall asleep has dropped by ~50% since I've made this change.
Physical exercise helps you sleep at night
Regular exercise has been scientifically demonstrated over and over again to improve sleep. One thing to be aware of - exercise right before bed can interfere with your body's ability to fall asleep, so if you're someone who gets "wired" after a healthy sweat, it's probably best to squeeze in your workout earlier in the day.
For most of us, we need a bit of "winding down" prior to bed
Starting 1 hour prior to bedtime, begin engaging in relaxing activities - reading a book, meditating, taking a bath - whatever activity helps you
"wind down" for the day.
If you're hungry or conversely, stuffed, it may be harder to fall asleep
Time your meals and snacks so that you're neither starving nor stuffed when heading to bed. And don't forget that alcohol and caffeine all have a negative impact on sleep quality.
Going to bed stressed is not uncommon - when you are worried, your heart races and it is difficult to get in "sleep mode"
Breathing exercises can be extraordinarily helpful in helping your mind slow down. Long and deep breaths for 1-2 minutes alone can slow your heart rate and get you closer to "sleep mode". To take a more systematic approach, we recommend meditation - the Headspace app is fantastic for those exploring meditation for the first time (or if you're experienced!).
Your body is like a big, sophisticated computer - like a computer, it responds well to programmed activities
We understand it’s not always possible to go to bed at the same time every night - especially on weekends - but it really helps our body to get into a regular routine so that you start getting tired at the same time every night. Creating as much of a routine as possible - from your pre-bed activities to when you get in bed to when you shut off the lights for good - will truly make a difference.