Feeling cranky? Out of sorts? Sleep may be the culprit. Or rather, lack of good, quality sleep can contribute to your bad moods. In fact, it can lead to depression. And lack of sleep has been found to play a part in greater risks for heart disease, diabetes, even obesity.
But getting good sleep can be difficult. Here are some suggestions:
- Create sleep heaven. Make your bedroom into a sleep zone—cool, dark and quiet. Put the thermostat down to around 65 degrees F or lower if you like to pile on the blankets. Power down your phone and other devices—the soft blue glow is not conducive to sleep. Invest in curtains or shades that block out light. And put strict limits on pets and children in your bed. Yes, you love them, but admit it. You sleep better without them.
- Be particular about pillows. And mattresses. They need to support you so you awake refreshed. Your pillow should not be too fat or too flat. It should be just plump enough to support the natural curve of your neck. Likewise, you should behave like Goldilocks when it comes to your mattress. It should be firm enough to keep your back from sagging, and soft enough to give your comfort. And seal that mattress with a good cover. Over time, mold and dust collect and aggravate allergies. Tough to get good sleep when you’re sneezing and sniffling.
- Watch what you put in your mouth. If you’ve eaten too much, your digestive system will be busy working overtime and your body will find it hard to rest. Likewise if you go to bed too hungry—your body will be restless. Not a good condition for sleep. And though a glass of wine may make you sleepy, too much alcohol will disturb your sleep. In fact, don’t drink too much of anything for an hour or two before bed as that will send you to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Nicotine and caffeine are the enemies of sleep, too. It’s not just coffee that will do you in. Chocolate, for example, has caffeine in it. Get to know your body and how long it takes for caffeine to wear out. Know what substances stress your system and avoid them before bedtime.
- Stick to a schedule. Hold your sleep-wake cycle sacrosanct. Even on vacation and on weekends. Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day. Develop a ritual before you hit the sack. Maybe listening to calming music or reading for a half hour. The idea is to slow down and get your body ready for sleep. If you like to watch TV before bed, do it in another room. A TV in the bedroom is usually disruptive. You fall asleep watching it and it wakes you up later. Then you search for the remote to turn it off, wake up your partner, well, you know the scenario.
- Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Your body gets used to the bedroom as a place for sleep and sex. It’s a good habit to be in. Enough said.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.