Occasionally, getting to sleep is very difficult, so here are a few tricks to apply next time you’re tossing and turning. Whether it be the events of the day, or a nagging thought a plethora of things can keep you up at night.
1. Avoid working in bed: While our bedrooms should likely be the most comfortable room in the house, they should not be associated with work. And, thinking about work or commitments can stress us out. This is the last thing we should be thinking about when trying to get some much-needed rest. Our bodies should be conditioned to know that when we’re in bed, we go to sleep.
2. Cut down on screen time in bed: When we are in a dark environment, or body produces a chemical called melatonin which, in turn, leads to feelings of drowsiness. If we stay in bed, exposing our eyes to vivid and bright screens, our brains become confused. It’s unsure whether or not we intend on sleeping and should produce melatonin, or if we want to stay awake. Furthermore, with the increasing amount of ways to get roped— it seems like a new social network pops up almost every day— it’s easy to spend much longer than intended on our phones or tablets.
3. Stay away from the gym late at night: Many recent studies have shown the effectiveness of exercise in increasing sleep quality. However, working out later in the night may have adverse effects. Towards the end of the night, our body’s temperature decreases a bit. But, exercise induces the opposite effect, upping overall body temperature. For the best results, try working out about 4-6 hours before turning in for the night. That way, your body’s temperature is dropping at the same time as you’re jumping into bed.
4. Don’t lay in bed: Nitun Verma, M.D. studied sleep medicine at Stanford University, and contends that staying in bed when experiencing an insomnia bout, “almost universally backfires.” Alternatively, try getting up and enjoying some light reading; perhaps a book you’ve read more than once. If it’s a new read, you risk becoming excited and staying up to keep reading.
If you’re consistently having trouble getting to sleep, speak with your doctor about the issue. But first try these helpful tidbits to see if they provide any relief!