How To Train Your Brain To Sleep Better!
Challenges like depression anxiety or relational problems are common in our lives. And one of the most common associated problems that they have is difficulty sleeping. This shows up as either having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep or just feeling tired all the time. Getting enough quality sleep can make your brain function much better. And you’ll be better at solving problems and feel more self-control. In this article, we’re gonna talk about how to train your brain to sleep better. And it’s called sleep hygiene.
So sleep is essential for good mental health. Lack of sleep can actually cause mental illness. Research is showing that one of the most effective ways to treat depression is by helping people improve their quality. And the quantity of their sleep. One study of people with depression found that after resolving their insomnia 87% of them experienced major improvements in their depression. Their depression symptoms disappeared after eight weeks of good sleep.
How do we improve our ability to get sleep?
We can train our brains to sleep better. Sleep hygiene means going through a routine that trains your brain. And body to know when to sleep. So, like a muscle that strengthens with practice, sleeping well is a skill we can develop. Okay so because you’re trying to trigger the autonomic nervous system to start your sleep cycle. It’s really important to use a routine.
Train Your Brain to Sleep Better
If you’ve ever tried to get a toddler to fall asleep you know how important it is to stick to a routine. Adults aren’t too different. We can’t force ourselves to sleep but we can train our brain to know when to sleep. So, start by creating a wind-down routine before bedtime that the brain associates with sleep. To do this, you want to keep a consistent schedule whenever possible. So try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Dim the lights cool the temperature and decrease your stimulation. So for example, do quiet activities like reading a book or taking a bath. Because this help triggers calm. Don’t watch TV or exercise right before bed.
Here are few science-backed up ways to sleep better:
1. Set a Routine for Sleep
Another thing you can do is have a routine right before bed. So for example in the evening you do a snack. And you change into pyjamas then you brush your teeth. And get into bed, read a book, pray and go to sleep. In addition to a routine, there are some things you can do during the day. That is going to improve your ability to fall asleep. And stay asleep. Limit your naps during the day to less than 30 minutes.
2. Limit Your Screen Time
Cut out screen time before bed. Devices such as phones and tablets and TVs are very stimulating. And this triggers the alerting system in the brain. Also, the tone of the light emanated from your screen tends to have a bluish tint to it. And this is similar to the bluish light in the mornings. So again this is a biological trigger to wake up. Research shows that blue-toned lights tend to trigger alertness. And red or yellow-toned lights tend to trigger calmness.
3. Turn Your Phone’s Brightness Down
If you must use your phone or tablet before bed check to see if it has a night shift setting. This will shift your screen colours toward the red and yellow range. And also turn your screen brightness down as low as possible. And use the night setting for reading and this makes it so your text appears as white letters on a black background. Also, put your phone on do not disturb mode while you’re sleeping. And don’t check your work emails right before bed. Or read anything that could be stressful like the news or even your Facebook feed. Another thing you want to do is take a look at your caffeine use.
4. Avoid Coffee before Bed
Avoid caffeine for at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Even one cup of coffee or tea even early in the morning that can affect your sleep for up to 48 hours. So, if you’re not sure of how caffeine is impacting you, you could try going off caffeine for one week. The first couple of days you might feel more tired. And by day four you will probably start feeling better.
You’ll have better sleep you’ll have, better energy. And be more focused and you’ll most likely be waking up less at night and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. Within one week most people say I feel better off caffeine than on caffeine. They report better energy better mood and better sleep.
5. Avoid Fatty Foods before Sleeping
Another thing to think about is to avoid rich heavy or fatty foods before bedtime. Anything that might cause heartburn or indigestion can interfere with sleep. But so can hunger. So you could try a snack like a banana and peanut butter before bed. A warm glass of milk before bed has also been shown in clinical studies to be as effective as many sleep medications. But a lot of people just don’t like the idea of drinking warm milk, you may want to try it.
6. Exercise during the Day
Exercise during the day can also greatly improve your ability to sleep. So even 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference. Also, light and sound can trigger alertness. So use earplugs blackout curtains or eye masks to help cut out that extra stimuli.
7. Use Your Bed Only For Sleeping!
Another thing you can try is a relaxation routine or meditation before bed. This is something like progressive muscle relaxation. And again, as you’re trying to create associations for your brain to trigger that sleep response, you want to only use your bed for sleeping. If your brain associates your bed with watching TV or working on your laptop, eating etc., your brain is gonna associate your bed with an alertness not sleep.
If you’re having a very hard time falling asleep or falling back asleep try getting up get out of bed and do something really boring like listening to a boring audiobook, or the old documentary. Don’t do anything too stimulating.