I can't sleep...
Lack of sleep can result in poor attention, irritability, impaired judgment, memory problems and overeating.
“Sleep Hygiene” is used to describe good sleep habits. Many of us don’t pay attention to our sleep habits, but they are essential. The following tips have been shown to improve sleep quality and quantity.
- Personal Habits
Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. The body ‘gets used’ to falling asleep at a certain time., but only if this is relatively fixed.
Avoid napping during the day. Or make sure you limit the nap to 20-30 minutes.
Exercise, but not before bed. Strenuous exercise within two hours before bedtime can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Avoid caffeine & alcohol 4-6 hours before bed.
- Your Sleeping Environment
Use comfortable bedding and a cool room temperature.
Block out distracting noise, for instance by wearing ear plugs or using a white noise machine.
Sleep in a darkened environment.
Reserve the bed for the three S’s: Sleep, Sex and Sickness
- Getting Ready for Bed
Try a light snack before bed.
Use relaxation techniques.
Don’t worry in bed.
If you’ve been in bed for more than 30 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity until tired.
- A word about electronics
Using electronics before bedtime is often a bad idea. They are mentally engaging and tend to keep people awake. Also, the light from screens can suppress melatonin, a natural hormone that makes you sleepy.
- Other Factors
Several physical factors are known to upset sleep. These include acid reflux, pain, sleep apnea, menstruation and headaches.
Many medications can cause insomnia as a side effect.
Psychological and mental health problems like depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol or substance abuse can cause sleeping problems.
- Get Help
If your sleep problems continue or are interfering significantly with your wellbeing, make a free and confidential appointment with a Student Health and Counseling Services counselor, or make an appointment for a physical check-up by calling 415-476-1281.
- Audio Links to Stress-Reduction and Relaxation Exercises
See the audio links on the “I can’t stop stressing” tab