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Seven Strategies for Better Sleep

March 7, 2016|By Dr. Mary Anderson|Health Psychology

Seven Strategies for Better Sleep

Obtaining good quality sleep is profoundly important as it can significantly impact your mood, relationships, and job performance. Here are 7 strategies, as informed by Dr. Gregg Jacobs’ fantastic book Say Good Night to Insomnia, to help you improve your sleep and overall well-being:

1. Wake up around the same time every day

Try to wake up at the same time or at least within 30 minutes of the same time every day—this really helps set your internal body clock and will make it easier to fall asleep at night.

2. Get exposure to bright light as soon as possible after you wake up

To fall asleep more easily at night–get in some sunshine in the morning. Or, if it’s a gray day, a helpful alternative can be using a bright light lamp for 30 minutes in the morning.  Here’s one lamp option.

3. Do some type of daily physical activity

Walking briskly or doing any type of moderate-intensity physical activity or planned exercise will positively impact your sleep (as well as your overall health and well-being).

4. Try to manage your stress during the day

Managing stress during the day can mean better sleep at night. So take at least 1 10-minute break every day to go for a walk outside, call a friend, watch or listen to something that makes you laugh, or do some deep breathing (calm.com is a great free app for guided meditation).

5. Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Mindfully slowing down after a busy day will allow your brain and body to become ready for sleep. Try listening to relaxing music or writing a gratitude journal entry before bedtime.

6. Go to sleep around the same time every night

Aim to go to sleep around the same time every night—being mindful to set a bedtime that will allow you to obtain 7-8 hours of sleep given your chosen wake up time.

7. Practice positive thinking about your sleep

It’s easy to become frustrated or discouraged if you’re struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep but calling yourself a “bad sleeper” or starting to dread bedtime for fear of not sleeping will only further contribute to sleep difficulties. Keeping a positive mind set and practicing balanced thinking about your sleep is one of the most powerful and effective strategies to improve sleep and overcome insomnia.

Excellent Online Resource: The American Psychological Association (APA) provides helpful information about sleep and ways psychologists can assist people with sleep difficulties in: “Getting a good night’s sleep: How psychologists help with insomnia.” Check it out here.

Encouraging Awareness & Action: What is one strategy you can practice today to improve your sleep?

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