Sleep Hygiene

It is common in our office to hear people having trouble sleeping. You might be staying up late because your mind is racing and it feels impossible to quiet your thoughts. Some might be able to fall asleep easily but then wake up in the middle of the night filled with worry and dread for the next day. Some of you may wake up from sleep not feeling well-rested. Below are some tips to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep:

Consult with your doctor

It is important to rule out any physical health-related reasons why you are having difficulty sleeping. The following are common medical conditions that may be related to your sleeping difficulty: heartburn, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, kidney disease, mental health problems, neurological disorders, respiratory problems, and thyroid disease. Additionally, some of the prescription or over-the-counter medication you may be taking may have a negative side effect that is affecting your sleep. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your sleep concerns and rule out any medical causes.

Reduce light

Turn off all devices and lights at least thirty minutes before you want to sleep. Darkness tells our pineal gland to release melatonin which is a natural hormone that helps our body transition into sleep. When we are using our phones and other electronics in bed, the blue light may prevent our body’s natural release of melatonin causing us to stay up later and have difficulty falling asleep. Consider wearing an eye mask or use light-blocking curtains to block out additional light if necessary.

Focus on relaxation

Sometimes we can stress ourselves out thinking about the amount of sleep we need that we lose sight of what is most important: relaxing. Create a nighttime routine that allows you to feel calm and relaxed before bed to get your mindset right for sleep. You can spend time doing light stretches, listening to relaxing music, reading a book, deep breathing exercises, meditating, or doing whatever best suits your needs. Try not to use your phone or watch TV to reduce the amount of light you are exposed to.

Consider essential oils

A study showed that those college students exposed to sleep hygiene techniques and slept with lavender essential oils had better sleep quality than participants who used sleep hygiene techniques alone. Sleep hygiene techniques used in this study included maintain maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding fluid intake before bed and food, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine late in the day, creating a good sleeping environment, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, keeping up with school work, and exercising regularly.

Try Apps

  • Sleep Cycle- An app that tracks your sleep and helps you better understand your sleeping patterns. The app will also help you wake up during your lightest sleep cycle so that you wake up feeling more refreshed.
  • Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds– An app that provides you with sounds, songs, and gentle movements to help you have a more restful sleep.
  • YouTube: Search this app to find sleep meditations, body scan exercises, sleep music, and other relaxing content to help your mind and body relax to gently fall asleep.

Sleep disturbance is very common in anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and bipolar disorder. If you believe your inability to sleep is related to mental health reasons and you would like to gain some control over this area of your life, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are more than happy to meet and come up with a plan to best meet your needs.

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