We all know sleep is important, but it’s especially important for good mental health. There is a wealth of research that indicates good sleep practices can improve mood and are part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Average adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep per night and children/adolescents need about 9-10 hours. The tips below can help you establish good sleep practices and get the rest you need for optimal functioning.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning to establish consistency with your sleep schedule.
- Do not nap during the day. Let your tiredness build so you are good and sleepy at bedtime.
- Don’t consume caffeine 6-7 hours prior to bed. Usually that means don’t have any after 3:00pm.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs as these substances can disrupt sleep tremendously.
- Avoid screens (computer, phone, and TV) for an hour or so prior to bed. The light from the screen wakes up your brain.
- Make your bedroom comfortable. Keep it cool, dark, and free from noise.
- Refrain from exercise and eating large meals prior to bed.
- Only use your bed for sleep. Avoid watching intense TV, eating, doing work, or engaging in other stimulating activities as your bed needs to be associated with rest and nothing else.
- If you have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the night and can’t go back to sleep, get up and do something minimally interesting until you feel tired. Staying in bed and stewing about stressors will be aggravating and make going back to sleep difficult.
- Consider doing a relaxation activity prior to bed like taking a warm bath, using progressive muscle relaxation, engaging in meditation, or listening to a visualization exercise.
If you are struggling with sleep and want to work on it in counseling, I’d love to chat with you. Please give our office a call, and we can discuss further.