Sitting up in the middle of the night due to restlessness and ruminating about the work day, personal family issues or finances is exasperating. Quality sleep seems out of reach. For many individuals these days, this is very common. Sleep experts say to in order improve your quality of sleep, set the following intentions:
- Hit the stop button when you leave work, and leave work at work.
- Focus on objects in front of you in order to regain your sense of being present in the moment.
- Ask family and friends to not call after a certain hour in the evening. Setting boundaries enables a pathway to sleep success.
- Treat yourself like a toddler an hour before your bedtime.
- A warm bath, devices off or out of the bedroom, and gentle breathing or reading a favorite book can help set the tone.
- If you have a pet, connect with him or her, pet it, hold it, talk to it, in order to be present, sleep experts suggest.
For individuals who have a sleep disorder, like insomnia, consider it with the same seriousness a primary care physician would treat a major illness—it needs attention. Lack of quality sleep leads to brain fog, poor food choices, possible anxiety and potential accidents. Work productivity falls.
Sleep apnea is another sleep disorder where pauses in breathing followed by loud snoring occur. When untreated, sleep apnea can create long-term problems that exacerbate underlying medical conditions, like endocrine or heart-related disorders. It can also impact your chance of getting hypertension.
Another tip: If you cannot fall back to sleep within 20 minutes of waking, go into another room that is dimly lit and relax. Notice when you begin to feel sleepy and return to bed.
For chronic worriers, 60 minutes before bed write down all your concerns—work, family, health or otherwise. Tally up all mistakes made, for example—it will provide a sense of mastery and accomplishment before your head hits the pillow.
For more sleep tips, visit our latest podcast with Dr. Marty Martin, national sleep expert and behavioral health psychologist here.