The world can feel chaotic and unsettled this year. One of the most common issues I’m seeing in my practice and among friends/family is difficulty with getting/or staying asleep. Sleep can be a struggle for so many. Often people find that’s the first chance they get to unwind and find their mind full of racing thoughts and worries. Or they can get to sleep and keep waking up with anxiety and find it hard to stay relaxed. So how do you prepare your body and mind for a good night’s rest? Here are some holistic keys I created to get your started on a more restful journey.
Key #1: Start first with your bedroom setup. Make your your bedroom as a place only for sleep and sex. TV’s in the bedroom are not a good idea if you have problems sleeping. Keep the temperature cool and the room as dark as possible Go to bed each night at the same time even on weekends. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow, really invest in the best you can afford.
Key #2: Set a soothing nighttime routine for your body at least an hour before sleep. This can signal to your brain that it is time to unwind. Turn off all electronics, keep your phone out of your bedroom if possible. The blue light can keep you awake. In addition to your regular hygiene, consider having some herbal tea, put on body lotion, use essentail oils like lavender, practice deep breathing and/or do some gentle yoga or stretching.
Key #3: Keep a journal next to your bed to soothe your mind. If you have a lot of racing thoughts, consider journaling before bed to get out all the thoughts that are on your mind. You can also journal about what you accomplished that day, what makes you happy or what you need to let go of.
Key #4: Find some kind of spiritual practice to engage in before bed. Spirituality means so much different things to different people, so find what works for you. It could mean having a nightly reflection on what you are most grateful for that happened that day, praying, meditation or reading inspirational books or a religious text.
It may take some time to find the right combination for you but know that your efforts will pay off when you can get the rest your body needs. Being sleep deprived negatively impacts everything and can make anxiety or depressive symptoms even worse. Always consider talking to your Primary Care Physician or Psychiatrist if sleep is still a struggle for you. What helps you unwind before bed? Post in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.