By Anna Spoelhof, FNP
Laurie Birkholz, MD, and Associates
Friends, how have you been sleeping?
Insomnia, trouble falling or staying asleep, is a common symptom of stress or anxiety. So, it’s no wonder that so many of us aren’t sleeping well due to the time change & remaining uncertainty in our world. As many of you know, getting an average of 7-9 hours of sleep is essential to our health. (And makes us more tolerable to be around!) Health benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, reduction in stress, & a decreased risk of heart disease & diabetes. So, if you’re experiencing insomnia, please know that it’s a normal response to stress!
Here are some tips for better sleep:
- If you tend to stay up too late or fall asleep on the couch most nights, try setting a bedtime alarm to signal that it’s time to finish what you’re doing & get ready for bed. By going to bed at the same time, your body will release melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, which will cause an energy dip that makes it easier to fall asleep.
- Watch caffeine intake -Here’s a good rule of thumb – no more caffeine in the late afternoon.
- Be sure to balance your reading & TV watching with some active household projects, like at-home yoga, walks, or bike rides.
- Don’t bottle your stress! Schedule a time to check in with yourself & notice how you’re feeling. Try writing in a journal, talking to a supportive friend about your feelings or processing them with a therapist.
- Are you expecting too much of yourself? Don’t try to change too much all at once. Choose one thing to work on this week. If you don’t do it perfectly, be kind to yourself & keep trying.
- Children do well when they have a set bedtime, & so do adults! A bedtime routine is another way to cue your body & mind that it’s time to sleep, relax, & transition from wake to sleep. It should include your nighttime hygiene routine, like changing your clothes, & something relaxing, like reading or listening to music. Keep your routine simple & consistent.
- An evening ritual that includes unplugging from electronics is a first great step towards a better night’s sleep!
What other tips do you have for a restful sleep? We’d love to hear about them! Happy resting, friends! Zzzzz…