Fall Back… to Sleep!
This past weekend Daylight Savings Time ended… and we got one extra hour overnight. We are all bummed that it is dark a lot earlier now. On the flip side, morning is lighter sooner.
At this time in the semester, sleep can feel like a rare commodity. Several students have been talking to me about getting enough sleep. Most go to bed late, often end up on their phones as a way to wind down… and then clock TikToks… so to speak. They eventually turn off the light and go to sleep, knowing the morning alarm will go off all too soon. So, here are some ideas about how to get on/back on a good sleep schedule.
It’s all about routine
Try to go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day. Our bodies thrive on routine! When you establish a getting-ready-for-bed routine, it signals your mind and body that you are done working and playing for the day—and ready to sleep. Your nighttime routine might look like putting on pajamas, brushing your teeth, and washing your face before getting into bed. Whatever your personal routine, it’s important to stay consistent.
Train your brain
Close down your electronics—looking at screens prevents your brain from relaxing. Try to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed (that includes computers, televisions—and yes—smartphones). As an alternative, you can read a book at night. You might also enjoy listening to relaxing music or a story; just remember to set a timer or turn it off before you fall asleep!
Create a comfortable environment
Getting your space just right can really set the tone for falling asleep. Make sure your room is dark by covering your windows with drapes or sheets to block out ambient light. Turn down the thermostat (65°F is recommended)—sleeping in cooler temperatures helps your body stay asleep.
Still can’t fall asleep? Try writing down several things that went well for you that day. Shifting your thoughts in a positive direction can interrupt anxious feelings about falling asleep. Write the top three things on your to-do list for tomorrow. It might help your brain relax knowing that you are prepared to handle tomorrow’s tasks, so you can stop worrying about them! For an extra wind down plan, try this Yoga Before Sleep routine with Adriene!
Remember, your brain and your body use sleep to download, detox, and recharge for the next day. It is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. And who doesn’t love a good sleep?
Written by Ginger Morgan, PhD
Director of Candid–Health and Life Coach