It’s past midnight and you’re lying in bed wide awake, unable to fall asleep. Counting sheep doesn’t help, and the later it gets, the more aware you are of the number of hours that you have left before your alarm goes off. Sound familiar? You’re not alone, approximately 30% of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. If continued overtime, sleep deprivation can contribute to severe health issues, such as depression or heart disease. Sometimes, the lack of sleep is caused by the difficulty to fall asleep at night. We compiled a list of tips to prepare your body and mind for bedtime and to help you fall asleep easier.
1. Have a regular sleeping schedule
The key to getting a good night’s rest every night is to have a regular sleeping schedule. Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time every night, even on weekends and holidays. Also, avoid long naps during the day. If you need a nap, 20 minutes is enough to give you energy until bedtime.
2. Start a bedtime ritual
A bedtime ritual can help tell your body and mind that it is almost time to go to bed. Try reading a book, drinking a cup of herbal tea, taking a walk around the block, listening to relaxing music, or a combination of these activities! The point is that your bedtime ritual is something that helps you relax. Avoid checking your phone before bed as the bright screen can make your brain think that it’s time to wake up.
3. Take a warm bath
A warm bath itself can help you relax and prepare your body and mind for bedtime. Dim the lights and play some relaxing music in the background. A warm bath also makes you sleepy because your body’s temperature drops when you get out of the warm bathtub. The decrease in temperature can help your body to slow down and relax.
4. Prime your bedroom for sleep
A bedroom that is too cold or too warm can prevent you from falling asleep easily. While a typical recommendation is to keep the room between 65 and 72 degrees, set a temperature that feels comfortable. Also, minimize any disturbing noises and lights. If you cannot eliminate the source of the noise, try sleeping with earplugs in. Same goes for lights, if you cannot get rid of the light of the street lamps or your bed partner wants to sleep with a nightlight on, try sleeping with a sleep mask.
5. Write down your worries
Worrying and stressing about things is one of most common reasons to keep people awake at night. Before going to bed, write down your worries. Venting your frustrations or worries on pen and paper can help, but you can also make a plan of how you’re going to tackle the issues or create a to-do list for the next day. You’ll be surprised how much more relaxed you feel when you realize that you don’t have to solve everything while you’re laying in bed at night.
While these tips can provide some temporary relief, there can be something more serious behind the issue if you constantly feel tired during the day or suffer from sleeping problems such as heavy snoring. These can be warning signs of a severe sleeping disorder and require that you see a certified sleep specialist. Dr. Pasha always focuses on finding out the underlying cause behind the symptoms. A sleep study can be conducted to determine what’s behind your inability to fall asleep in order to find the right course of treatment for you. Make an appointment today!