Preparing for a Good Night’s Sleep

Everyone agrees that a good night’s sleep is essential. Well almost everyone.

Here are a number of daily rituals that a person can do to help ensure a good nights sleep.

Get lots of light during the day—particularly in the morning before noon. Shoot for at least 15 minutes of bright light first thing each day.  This may seem like an unusual request, but your sleep is controlled by your circadian rhythm and sunlight triggers this cycle.

Lower your lights a few hours before bedtime and turn down the thermostat. This helps convince your brain that it’s night and bedtime is near.

Avoid watching TV or using your computer or smartphone within two hours of bedtime unless wearing blue blocker glasses. TV screens, computer screens and even cellphone screens produce blue light which mimics the sun and tricks our circadian rhythm into believing it’s still day time. Block the blue light and your body will begin to prepare for sleep. Hint:  If you don’t want to wear the weird colored glasses, your smartphone has settings which will reduce blue light.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible. You want to sleep in complete darkness.  Unless there was a full moon, our ancestors experienced  total darkness at night. We should as well.

Prepare for the next day.  Think through what you have to do tomorrow and get it down on paper so it won’t ruminate in your head. Get your clothes laid out and if you have to, make meals for yourself and your kids. Knowing that these tasks are done will help you to relax.

Create a night time wind down ritual to allow your mind to relax.  During the last hour or two of your day, start to wind down and relax. Read a book, meditate, journal, do visualization, practice gratitude or something else that wont stimulate your mind. If you don’t do this, you are likely to have a much more difficult time falling asleep, you will have more intense dreams and have more night time awakenings.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  Consistency is sleep schedule leads to better sleep.

Sweet Dreams!