How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting to bed at a regular time and getting enough sleep is paramount to our physical and mental health.

Sleep is one of the most important factors for our well-being, just like the food that we eat, the effort we put into it determines the result that we get out of it.  Following up on our previous post, if you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, there several things that you can do on your own to be pro-active in achieving your own goals for health and wellness.  

Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep 

  1. Drink a warm glass of milk or sleepy-time tea before going to bed.  This can help relax and ease into a peaceful state of mind.  If you keep a journal or enjoy light reading before going to bed, add a cup of tea to help promote the relaxation.  Tryptophan, an amino acid found in milk stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain, which is connected with inducing sleep.
  2. Go to bed at the same time every night and get out of bed at the same time every morning.  Trying to compensate by sleeping in can disrupt your normal sleep pattern.  The more stable your sleep pattern is, the more likely you are to always get a good night’s sleep.
  3. Take a nice hot bath to help relax before going to bed.   Some researchers have noticed that a hot shower actually awakens people rather than helping them to shut down for bed.  Figure out which one works best for you.  A hot shower or bath can help melt away the stress of the day.
  4. Do get regular exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk everyday.  If you have a significant other, walking can be a great time to get together and talk about the day without any other distractions and connect with others in your neighborhood.
  5. Make a list of all the things that you have to do for the next day so that you don’t go to bed trying to remember all the things you have to remember when you wake up.  Keep that list beside your bed in case you think of other things while settling down for the night.
  6. Eliminate noises and light that can distract or disrupt sleep.  Some people like having white noise, such as nature sounds or a noise machine to help eliminate other background noises from one’s house or apartment.  Create the environment you want in terms of noise, darkness, and temperature.
  7. Reduce the amount of “blue light” after sundown.  Blue light is artificial light created by screens of any kind.  Have a cut-off time when you shut down the computer, iPad, phone, and TV.  Strive to make your cut-off time at least an hour before your normal bedtime so that you can…
  8. Create a bedtime routine.  Find one that works for you, that can include watching a favorite TV show before turning off the tube.  Other parts of a routine can include reading a chapter in a book or doing some light cleaning and straightening up so that the sleeping area is not so cluttered.  Some people enjoy a light stretching routine in the evening before going to bed to help promote relaxation in tight muscles.  Include some of these other steps and find what works for you.

If you regularly have difficulty falling or staying asleep or regularly stay up throughout the night, commit to trying the above strategies for the next four weeks (about the time it takes for your body to adapt to new patterns).  If your friends, family, and colleagues regularly notice that you are sleepy throughout most of the week or tell you that you look tired, you may need some extra help in troubleshooting your sleep problems.  Other indications of a sleep disorder include faulty memory, slow reaction times, loss of concentration, a felt need for caffeine throughout the day to get by, and difficulty controlling emotions.  If you’re still having trouble after four weeks, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor or come see us at the PTI.  Here at the Post Trauma of Institute of Louisiana, our goal is to remove any and all barriers for every person, regardless of their condition, to getting the best mental health treatment possible.  If you’re have concerns or questions about a loved one’s mental or emotional health please give us a call today.