Sleep Tight

Posted on September 1st, 2015 by Seth Nickinson

Getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of staying healthy and being ready for work. Of course, some times there are reasons we can’t, like a new child or a lot of stress. But there are many factors within our control. Here are some keys to getting a good night’s sleep

puppies spooning

  1. Keep a Routine: If you go to sleep at the same time, give or take a half-hour, and wake up at the same time, every day, including weekends, it helps your body’s clock
  2. Dark and Cool: Make sure your room is dark (try black-out shades, turn out all lights and cover blinky things) and on the cool side (i.e. under 70 degrees). It will help you sleep soundly.
  3. Stop Screen Time: checking your phone right before bed (which studies show many people do) or watching TV right up until lights-out are not the best ways to ease your brain. Give yourself at least half an hour of downtime. Studies show the blue light from screens can mess with your circadian rhythms. There are now some apps that will alter your screen settings after sunset to help you wind down.

    glowing computer screen

    Image Credit: Flickr user Vivian Nguyen

  4. Easy on the Alcohol: sure, drinking can be relaxing and you might even pass out, but alcohol can also lead to fitful sleep and dehydration. Enjoy a drink or two with dinner, but don’t tie one on. Your sleep will be more restful.
  5. Reserve the Bed for Sleep and Sex: if you keep your bed solely for sleep (and maybe some intimacy and reading) it helps your body know that climbing into bed is for sleeping. Do your TV watching, your work, your bill-paying, elsewhere.
  6. Don’t Snooze: I know we all love the snooze button, but that brief sleep isn’t really restful. Better to accurately gauge your wakeup time and have the alarm go off once.
  7. Careful with Caffeine: That afternoon cup of coffee (or after-dinner) may be just the thing that keeps you awake
  8. Write Down Your Worries: once you get in bed, there is nothing you can do about your tasks, stresses, and worries from the day. Once day is ending and another will begin in the morning. But it can be hard to let go of the things we are thinking about. Try just writing them down. It probably won’t make things worse, but might help you release them. You are telling yourself, “Hey, I won’t forget to attend to these things, here is where they stand tonight, and I will come back to them tomorrow.”

Read these articles if you want more tips or details: