Sleeping Smarter: How to Combat Sleep Disturbances and Build Sleep Hygiene

With tension and anxiety currently so high, sleep is often one of the first aspects that can be impacted. Problems with sleep are inconvenient at best and detrimental at worst and taking steps toward better sleep hygiene can be pivotal turning point in our overall health. 

Disrupted sleep hygiene can take many forms including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, sleeping too much, and inconsistent sleep patterns. Sleep difficulty can quickly become a viscous cycle as well, as the worry created by not sleeping can make it more difficult to sleep. 

If you are having problems with sleep (and even if you are not), the following are some simple tips for how to sleep smarter: 

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. While this can seem impossible, giving it your best shot can have a profound impact. Our bodies work on a circadian rhythm and so keeping that rhythm consistent decreases stress in the body and helps us to get better sleep. 
  2. Do not look at any screens an hour or more before bed. Screens emit light that disrupt our circadian rhythm and sleep cycle and therefore falling asleep to the tv or scrolling on your phone before bed can negatively impact your sleep. 
  3. Avoid caffeine after 3 pm. It takes the body a while to fully process caffeine in the system, therefore cutting off the coffee and soda in the early afternoon can ensure that the caffeine is not disrupting sleep. It is important to pay attention to your own body here as well. For those of us who are highly sensitive to caffeine, we may want to avoid things with trace amounts of caffeine (like chocolate) in the evenings as well. 
  4. Refrain from checking the time when you can’t sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, one of the best tricks is to remove clocks from your line of sight. Checking the time usually includes looking at a screen (which will further disrupt the sleep) and can lead to increased anxiety surrounding not sleeping. It can be helpful to turn your alarm clock around or remove your phone from the room to help with this practice. 

These simple practices, while not a cure all solution, can be extremely helpful in sleeping smarter!

***The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

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