8 Ways to Sleep Better

Some of you know that I struggle with depression and it seems to come in waves. I am going to be totally honest when I tell you that I am struggling with situational depression this month. If we were having coffee and you asked me how I was doing, I would tell you that I am not fucking fine. I don’t swear a lot so I want to emphasize and drive home the fact that things are not sunshine and rainbows over here. Mentally, I am struggling to come to terms with things. I am in no mood to explain what these things are but I might write about it in an upcoming blog post. I am just tired of receiving bad news all the damn time and I do not want to drag all of you down with my negativity.

Whenever I am really struggling with situational depression, my sleep schedule is usually the first thing to go. This week, I have been extremely sleep-deprived as I was staying up until 0500 – 0600 and waking up at 1030 to send my daughter to school. It is hard to find balance when I am dealing with these strong, negative emotions and lack of motivation. I am barely functioning from lack of sleep. Last Wednesday, I missed sending my daughter to school because I slept through my alarm. I feel like I am failing as a mother and this is not one of my prouder moments.

Redefining the Way You Sleep ✨🌙

In case you missed my post about Improving Sleep Hygiene, I highly recommend reading it first. From years of struggling with insomnia as well as excessive worrying, I know that sleep is vital for a person’s health and well-being. I also know that sleep is even more important for those who struggle with #mental-health and mood regulation. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems, then I suggest checking out my list below ↓ Here are some ways to help you get some sleep for a more productive day! 💁‍♀️

Redefining Sleep: 8 Ways to Sleep Better

1. Figure out how much sleep you need. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your body and mind are not going to function the way they should. You will feel tired and groggy, even when you wake up early. If you don’t address it now, then sleep deprivation can ultimately wreak havoc on your health. If you want to get some rest, you can start by making a plan to determine how much sleep is right for you. While some people can get away with 4 hours of sleep each night, others require more sleep.

2. Have a nighttime routine. Do you find yourself waking up during your sleep cycle? Chances are, you’re probably not getting enough REM sleep. During REM sleep, your body is working hard to replenish and repair itself. Having a nighttime routine can help get you into bed faster and fall asleep quicker, and it may even help regulate your circadian rhythm by teaching your body to start winding down at the same time each day. This might sound counterintuitive, but having a set bedtime and morning routine can actually make it easier to fall asleep at night.

3. Be consistent. We are all guilty of not always following what we say we are going to do. However, one good way to keep a consistent sleep schedule is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends and holidays. Also, don’t doze off for an hour in front of your computer or TV late at night; if you can’t fall asleep by 2200, get up and go to bed anyways.

4. Hello, sunshine! 🌞 If you’re having trouble sleeping, then a lack of natural light might be to blame. Spend some time each day getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight and your body will get used to feeling more awake (and alive) in the morning. Sunlight also helps reset your circadian rhythm, which is your internal clock and plays a role in sleep regulation. Since we associate darkness with going to bed, getting sunlight will trick your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up! ☕💕

5. Reward Yourself. When you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, make it easier on yourself. You could try starting your day with a refreshing shower or a short walk outside. Exercise can also help improve your quality of sleep as well. Making time for #self-care is an important part of sleeping well at night. If you still can’t fall asleep, try adding some relaxing activities before bedtime such as taking a bath or listening to relaxing music.

6. Plan the Next Day. It is natural to have an off day or a bad week from time to time, but it can also be difficult to get back on track if you fail to plan for these mishaps. Instead of waiting for the morning, plan your next day prior to bed. In 30 minutes, you can figure out what needs to be done tomorrow and how much time each task will take. 

7. Turn off social media. The blue light from social media keeps you up at night. If you have trouble sleeping, I suggest that you deactivate your account and read a book. And please don’t bring your phone with you into bed. If you must use your phone as an alarm clock like many people do, then you need to check out this blog post for a sans phone solution.

8. Eat light before bedtime. While a few crackers won’t hurt, too many late-night calories could lead to weight gain. It is important not only to avoid eating close to bedtime but also skipping meals altogether, as that leads your body and mind into starvation mode, which can leave you feeling tired and cranky in addition to losing precious hours of valuable shuteye.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Sleep is a critical part of staying healthy and it is not just limited to your physical or mental well-being. Like eating well and exercising regularly, it is important to make sleep a priority in your life. If you want to be at your best, then you need your beauty sleep. And while everyone has their own way of sleeping better, there are some general tips that can help you start getting more—and better—sleep every night. Do you agree with this list of suggestions? Is there anything that I missed? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ #Sweet-dreams

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

Improving Sleep Hygiene

As somebody with a history of depression and the tendency to stay in bed all day if only my toddler would let me, I struggle with sleep hygiene. During my second cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session last month, my therapist gave me a list of ways to help improve my sleep hygiene. I want to share these helpful tips with you, especially if you deal with frequent bouts of insomnia or have mild to moderate depression.

Improving Sleep Through Behaviour Change

Stimulus Control Procedures

  1. Go to sleep when you are sleepy.
    The longer you stay in bed, the more the bed is associated with a place to be awake instead of asleep. If you need to, delay going to bed until you are sleepy. No, this does not mean watching TV or using your smart phone. Screens emit a blue light which messes with your circadian rhythm.
  2. Get out of bed when you cannot fall asleep or go back to sleep in 15 minutes. 
    Get out of bed if you cannot fall asleep after giving it your best effort. It is better to get out of bed than it is to keep laying in bed with your ruminating thoughts. Once you are out of bed, return to bed when you are feeling sleepy again. The goal is to associate your bed with sleepiness.
  3. Only Use the bed for sleep and sex.
    Avoid other activities that do not involve sleeping or lovemaking. Activities to avoid include watching TV, listening to the radio, eating, or reading in your bed.

Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

  • Caffeine Avoid consuming caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine disturbs your natural sleep rhythm. I would suggest cutting off caffeine consumption around 1700 (5:00 PM) so you will feel sleepier prior to bedtime.

  • Nicotine Avoid nicotine before bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant which keeps you awake. Avoid tobacco before bedtime and during the night as well.
  • Alcohol I don’t know about you, but alcohol makes me drowsy. Even though alcohol promotes the onset of sleep which makes you feel sleepy, alcohol also interrupts your natural sleep pattern. Avoid consuming alcohol less than 4 hours before going to sleep.

img_0262_19722894945_o.jpg

Because we don’t get this drink in Canada. If it’s fruity and sweet, I’m probably going to drink it.

  • Sleeping Pills Sleep medications are an effective short-term treatment for people who struggle with falling asleep at night. However, sleep medications lose their effectiveness in approx. 2-4 weeks when they are taken regularly. Over time, sleeping pills may actually make sleep problems worse due to dependency; withdrawal from the medication can cause insomnia. Use sleep medications only if you need them and avoid relying on them long-term.
  • Regular Exercise Do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime since exercise excites the nervous system and interferes with your ability to sleep. I am guilty for exercising right before bedtime…
  • Bedroom Environment Your bedroom should have a moderate temperature and it should be quiet and dark. Personally, I leave the window open at night and close the blinds. Also, I sleep with earplugs and an eye-mask which helps a lot.
  • Eating A light bedtime snack, such as a glass of warm milk, a banana, or a piece of cheese can promote sleep. Avoid eating snacks in the middle of the night because awakening may become associated with hunger.

11244576_10153287997558328_7376747958633224262_o_19508697179_o.jpg

Eat all the yummy things; my mom really knows how to host a party! 🥳

  • Avoid Naps OK, I am totally guilty of this one! I love afternoon naps and will occasionally take an afternoon nap, typically lasting at least 1 hour in length. Now that my toddler lives with me 24/7, she doesn’t let me take naps. The sleep you get during the day will essentially take away from the amount of sleep you need that night. If you must take an afternoon nap, schedule it before 1500 (3:00 PM). Do not seep more than 15 to 30 minutes, according to doctors’ recommendations.

ps_9735_36648261744_o

Now that is the biggest yawn I’ve ever seen! 😂

  • Unwind Before Bedtime Allow yourself at least 1 hour before bedtime to unwind. Find what works for you to wind down, and give yourself an hour to do so. Consider reading a book or writing in a journal before you fall asleep.
  • Regular Sleep Schedule Keep a regular time each day (7 days a week) to get out of bed each morning. Keeping a regular waking time helps set your circadian rhythm so that your body learns to sleep at the desired time each night.
  • Stick to the Plan Set a reasonable bedtime and rising time, and then follow through with the plan long-term. Set the alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time each morning, regardless of your bedtime or the amount of sleep you got the previous night. This guideline is designed to regulate your internal biological clock as well as reset your sleep-wake cycle.

Monkey Business by Rebecca Tan 🐵

I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips that you have for fighting insomnia. Let me know if anything on the list has helped you achieve a good night’s sleep by joining the conversation and leaving a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

great-vibes.regular (1)