When you’re having trouble sleeping, it has a negative domino effect. Not getting enough sleep can put you in a bad mood where any little thing gets on your nerves, you feel tired and move slow, and your memory is not the best.
Different things can affect your sleep such as taking certain medications, being under a lot of stress, having physical pain, or staying up because your mind just jumps from one thing to another. We all know about having a regular bed time routine,waking up at the same time everyday, and turning off the TV and phone at least an hour before bed. But lets face it, that’s all easier said than done. Luckily there are simple things that you can do to help you fall asleep more easily.
Download Blue light filter app. The light from your phone, or any bright light, doesn’t let your brain release the right amount of Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep and wake cycles. Search “blue light filter” in the App store, or online for your computer. This changes the color of the screen so that it won’t affect your eyes, and the Melatonin production.
Download apps that help you sleep. If you search “sleep” in the app store, you’ll find a lot of apps that track sleep and give you tips on sleeping better. Some even have built in guided meditations to help you relax. One that I recommend a lot to clients is “CBT-i Coach”.
Take a Magnesium supplement. Of course always check with your doctor first before taking vitamins and minerals. Magnesium has been found to help us relax and has been known to relieve insomnia.
Set up your room to help you sleep. You’ll sleep better if your room is dark and cool. If your room is too warm or cold, your body is going to wake you up. Also, clear up any clutter that you may have. A messy environment affects our mood.
Don’t exercise before going to bed. Some people can exercise late and sleep just fine. But the majority of people have trouble sleeping if they workout before sleeping because exercise gives us energy.
Drink plenty of water before going to bed. Ever wake up in the middle of the night because you were thirsty? Try to drink plenty of water to avoid that.
Write down your thoughts. If you’re having trouble sleeping because your mind is racing or you’re worried about something, try writing down your thoughts. Getting your thoughts out of your head, and on to paper can help.
Count your breaths. Try breathing in through your nose for 5 seconds, hold it for 6 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 7 seconds. Counting in your head will help you stop thinking about anything else, and the deep breathing will help you relax into sleep.
Limit coffee to mornings and early after noon. Did you know that caffeine can stay in our body anywhere from 4-10 hours? So if you have your morning coffee, then another at 3 pm, then another after dinner, you have more caffeine in your body than you think. Think about that next time you’re wide awake at night.
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About Liza J Alvarado, MS, LPC
Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Bethlehem, PA area.