It’s been season of upheaval and uncertainty, and as a result, not all of us are sleeping well. Anxiety about the future and unstructured days have made for less than restful nights. A calming bedtime routine can help.
Create a set of cues so your body and mind know to prepare to settle down and sleep. These cues, over time and through repetition, will act as a signal to transition from an alert state to a relaxed one.
Blue light from screens – television, tablets, laptops and phones – is stimulating, and interferes with the natural circadian rhythms that govern wakefulness and sleep. Stop viewing all screens at least 30 minutes before heading to bed. Furthermore, online news and social media can have a powerful affect on our emotions, keeping us awake, alert and potentially anxious.
Leave digital devices out of the bedroom. It is a powerful psychological signal that the time for work, communication, and outside intrusions is done for the day, and that only rest lays ahead.
Create a routine of cues that soothingly engages your nervous system, sending signals across the senses that it is time to settle down.
Although alcohol is technically a depressant, slowing our breathing rate and making us feel relaxed and even sleepy, it does not necessarily contribute to a good night’s sleep. Alcohol can interfere with natural sleep cycles, and can contribute to insomnia for some. While the occasional drink is fine, do not count it in as part of your regular bedtime routine.
Anxiety is a common culprit when it comes to sleeplessness. Make a to-do list of all the things you have to do tomorrow to prevent your mind from worrying over these tasks. If you wake in the night with another task, simply add to the list, and then go back to sleep. The list will be a handy tool to get you started the next day.
Our bodies get their best sleep when in a cool, dark space. Cool the room in advance of heading to bed, and turn off all the lights when you are ready to lay down your head. Invest in blackout curtains or blinds to keep out the glare of the city, as indirect light can disturb your slumber as well. The change in temperature and light level will also act as cues to your body to prepare for sleep.
Follow the steps you have chosen in approximately the same order at the same time every night. Let these calming cues become dependable signals to your mind and body that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Our minds and bodies respond powerfully to repetition – let this natural inclination carry you to a more restful night’s sleep.
Are you having trouble getting a good night’s rest? Contact the BFDC, we can help.