The individuals I see describe a variety of symptoms, but almost everyone reports they cant sleep. People are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or get back to sleep. We say “tired” though we really mean we have fatigue or sleepiness. These do not mean the same thing; fatigue implies weariness from some mental or physical effort while sleepiness means drowsiness, the propensity to fall and stay asleep. People who are fatigued tend to rest while those who are sleepy tend to sleep.
Sleep hygiene is a commonsense approach though these recommendations are often dismissed by poor sleepers. They may think there is nothing new offered or has been tried before without success. This is a straightforward list of things you can do for better sleep.
- Do not nap
- Get up at the same time every morning
- Sleep in a comfortable bed, in a dark, quiet, room that is neither too warm or too cool
- Cut down on caffeinated beverages and avoid them altogether after mid afternoon
- Refrain from using alcohol after dinner
- Do not smoke cigarettes in the evening or when unable to sleep
- Do not consume a heavy meal or too much liquid of any type before bedtime. A light snack can be helpful
- Get regular exercise but not too close to bedtime
- Wind down about an hour or so before bed. Get off your phone, turn off your computer and don’t watch the nightly news or other potentially distressing or overly stimulating shows.
- If you are not asleep within about 20 minutes get out of bed and read, listen to music or just relax in a chair. Don’t go to bed until you are feeling sleepy. If you do go to bed and are not asleep in about 20 minutes get out of bed and read, listen to music or just relax in a chair.
Love yourself, you deserve it!