A good night’s sleep can turn a mediocre day into an amazing one. Your brain relies on that sleep time to sort through thoughts and emotions you may not have had time to process in the day. Less sleep means less processing time, which can lead to an assortment of mental health issues.
Since sleep is a fundamental part of depression treatment, we’ve come up with five tricks you can use to improve your sleeping experience. Check out these sleep tips, courtesy of Perspectives Counseling Centers.
Go to Bed and Wake up at the Same Time
Your body thrives inhabits. That’s why people are often more productive when they have a consistent work schedule. If you are able to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day, go for it. Your body will get used to the routine, and you will find yourself falling to sleep faster at night.
Of course, this is not an option for everyone, particularly workers who switch from day shift to night shift. If you’re in that situation, try to maintain as consistent of a routine as possible. Follow the same steps before bed, whether it’s day or night. Shower, read a book, go to sleep. Watch TV for an hour, listen to soothing music for 30 minutes, go to sleep. Find the routine that works best for you.
Replace Caffeine with Water
No caffeine? What?! It may not sound like a pleasant option, but caffeine strongly affects your sleeping patterns. If you need a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, that’s fine. However, if you’re drinking coffee and energy drinks all day long, you are blocking your body’s natural ability to produce energy. Your body gets lazy because it knows you’re going to pump it full of extra caffeine. Substitute the caffeine with water, and you will develop natural energy over time.
Note that you may experience withdrawals for the first few days. Some people have to gradually wean themselves off caffeine, depending on their daily intake. Fight through the fatigue during the adjustment period, and you will see a noticeable change in your energy levels over time.
Avoid Your Phone for at Least 30 Minutes before Bed
Are you one of those people who spends the last hour of the night scrolling through social media? There is nothing wrong with a little time online, but it’s best to plan that earlier in the day. The light from your phone and the mental stimulation of social media makes it difficult for your brain to shut off at night. That’s why you may toss and turn for the first hour of sleep because your brain is still trying to wind down. Cut off your phone time so your body can get the rest it needs.
Don’t Make Sleeping a Chore
For some, going to sleep is a stressful experience. They worry that they won’t get enough sleep at night and that stress makes it difficult to fall asleep. Instead of feeling like you need to get X hours of sleep, just focus on resting. Even if you lay in bed for hours, your body is doing minimal work. This frees up brainpower so your mind can still tackle some of the tasks it needs to complete while you sleep.
Keep Naps Short and Sweet
If you need a power nap during the day, sleep for 20-40 minutes. This will give you the same energy boost as a cup of coffee, but it won’t leave you feeling groggy when you wake up. Long naps that are 1+ hours can disrupt your sleeping patterns, leaving you more fatigued the following day. If you keep the right balance though, power naps are a great alternative to caffeinated beverages.
Follow these simple sleeping techniques from Perspectives Counseling Centers, and you’ll soon feel well-rested and ready to take on the world.