Do you find it difficult to unwind and sleep worse? Then you may need better sleep routines! Here are 5 simple adjustments that can change your sleep.
Sleep is not only a way for us to regain energy, but sleep is critical to our well-being. It regulates the body’s healing and restoration. Disturbed sleep can, for example, affect blood pressure, heart rate, mental health, hormonal and immunological function. Therefore, sleep problems should never be ignored and swept under the carpet. But with some simple adjustments in your life, you can improve your sleep routines – and your sleep significantly. It not only makes you understand yourself, your body’s signals and needs better. Without it, it can also make you understand if there are any underlying causes that are causing the problem.
1. Be curious about your sleep
When working with your sleep routines, it is always good to start by looking at and being curious about what your sleep or sleep problems look like. This will help you to get to the bottom of what goes wrong and how it affects your sleep. Here are examples of questions experts believe can help you in this work:
- Can you fall asleep 15-20 minutes after you fall asleep?
- Do you usually sleep a total of 7-9 hours a day?
- Is your sleep continuous and not characterized by many awakenings during the night?
- Do you feel rested when you wake up?
- Do you feel alert and productive most of the day?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, it is likely that you have good sleep habits and can count on your sleep benefits. However, if you answered “no”, your sleep may need to be improved and it may be important to investigate what is wrong. Start by keeping a sleep diary to note how your sleep looks and / or changes over the course of a few days. This will give you a clearer indication of where you can go in and change things.
2. Prioritize your amount of daylight
An effective way to establish better sleep routines is to add more daylight. Unfortunately, this is often an overlooked factor as we in today’s society spend less and less time outdoors and more indoors. Experts recommend getting enough exposure to daylight and especially early morning, if possible.
This has to do with your brain’s sleep pressure and alertness. In other words, the circadian time and biological circadian rhythm, which dictates when we sleep and wake up. During the day, sleep pressure builds up, which is the process that tells us that we should sleep. At the same time, the body breathes life into our wakefulness during the day, which is the process that keeps us awake and alert during the day and afternoon. Slowly, then, sleep alertness drops and sleep pressure increases and releases completely as you fall asleep. This also determines whether you get a good night’s sleep or not. So it is important that these two processes are in symbiosis with each other in order for you to function as well as possible and get your recovery. An aid in the right direction is therefore more daylight. Exposure to daylight makes you more alert during your waking time and more naturally tired when it’s time to sleep.
3. Put away your tech gadgets
Another important tip for getting better sleep routines is to put away your phone or tablet and turn off the TV at least 1 hour before bedtime. Instead, allow your body to listen to your biological system and daily rhythm. Namely, light from electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural circadian time, increase the stress hormone cortisol and thereby increase our alertness and thus suppress the release of the hormone melatonin.
We are, basically, cavemen whose bodies have learned to respond to daylight. The body then releases melatonin to indicate when it will be night and you should get tired but with today’s exposure to artificial light can disrupt this cycle. It simply means that your melatonin levels are put off balance and when you really feel tired you are lying and sleepless in the bed and screwing on you. Start by dimming the light in your home to make the transition to bedtime and sleep easier for the body to detect. A dimmer in your home can help you along the way as well as a dawn light. You may also want to invest in a couple of thicker curtains or something else that shuts out sound and light well. Another tip is to leave electronic devices completely outside the bedroom so that they are not even close to you when you sleep.
4. Find your way to unwind
Finding ways to help your brain relax both during the day and when it’s time to sleep is important – and good when it comes to sleep routines. It’s about learning to send signals to your body. This way, it registers that, for example, it’s time to sleep and you fall asleep easier. The trick is called routines and it is therefore about being consistent and teaching the body signs that it is time to sleep. Find what makes you unwind. Take a bath, prepare your morning, drink a cup of tea, listen to relaxing music, do some meditation exercises or just relax and get ready for the night. We do not differ much from infants, but humans learn from repetition – regardless of age. Clear sleep routines are therefore important and help signal to the brain that it is time to sleep.
5. Dare to ask for help
You may feel that you have tested all the sleep routines, tips and tricks but still do not get the sleep and quality of sleep you should. Then it’s time to seek help to find out what’s wrong.
If you know that you are suffering from sleep problems, please contact us. In just sleeping problems, studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy (KBT) has a very good effect. This type of treatment is also a long-term solution to the problem. Contact us for more information on how KBT works and how Learning to Sleep can help you.
If, on the other hand, you suspect that there are medical problems, you should always contact your health care center for further assistance.