Sleep is one of the most important things for our bodies and minds, yet many people complain about sleep problems.  Here are a few tips for better sleep!

1) Go to bed only when feeling sleepy.  This reduces any worries about not falling asleep and increases your chances of lying in bed awake.  Not sleepy until late? Maybe you are more of a night owl, track your sleep patterns for a couple weeks to see what time is the best for you to go to bed.

2) If you do find yourself lying in bed awake, get out of bed.  When we stay in bed and are not sleeping our minds start to think bed is for things other than sleep (worrying, reading, checking emails or facebook etc…), so if you are unable to sleep for more than 10-20 minutes get up and try a non-stimulating activity until you feel sleepy.  Tell yourself “I can’t sleep now, so I might as well do something I enjoy”.  Some examples are reading, watching a non-stimulating TV show, listen to relaxing music.

3) Turn your clock away from you.  You do not need to know what time it is during the night, checking it may increase anxiety about lost sleep.

4) Wake up the same time each morning, no matter how well you slept the night before.  Consider this: when you get up at 6am Monday to Friday then on Saturday decide to sleep in until 11am you have shifted your body five hours.  This is the same as travelling to London England every weekend.  By sleeping in on the weekends and not having a consistent wake time we put our own bodies through jet lag.

5) Use your bed and bedroom for two things only: Sleep and sex.  This will strengthen your body’s cue for sleeping.

6) Unless very sleepy, naps are not needed during the day.  By napping during the day we decrease our body’s sleep drive at night, this will reduce deep sleep when we need it most.  Safety does come first, if you need to sleep to perform a task such as driving naps are ok

These are just a few tips for improving sleep.  For more information and to explore your own sleep concerns call the clinic for an appointment with your Nurse Practitioner or Social Worker today!

Amber Sperling MSW RSW