8 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
Nov 17, 2022
Not getting enough sleep consistently will negatively impact many areas of your life. It impairs your mind just as having a couple of drinks does. It can increase food cravings. It can cause you to be irritable, anxious, or sad. It can age you faster, and it can negatively impact overall health. It can slow down your productivity and efficiency and increase your distractibility. If you struggle with sleep, the good news is that it is “fixable”.
I recently worked with someone who has not been able to get a good night’s sleep in over 10 years. She had accepted that it would never get better and told me, “I am just a bad sleeper”. After just 4 sessions, she is now able to go to sleep earlier, she is able to fall asleep quickly, she no longer wakes up in the middle of the night, and she wakes up feeling refreshed instead of groggy and tired. It has been life changing for her in many ways.
I know there are many people who struggle with getting enough sleep and/or getting quality sleep so I wanted to share some strategies that may help you resolve your sleep issues. If you are looking to improve your sleep, here are some suggestions.
- Change your mindset. If you tell yourself you are a “bad sleeper” or that you will never get a good night’s sleep…guess what…you will be a “bad sleeper and never get a good night’s sleep. Your brain will create what it is you are telling yourself. Instead, create a narrative that is something like, “I am prioritizing taking actions that will improve my sleep”.
- Make it a priority. You must make your commitment to improving your sleep schedule a priority. It will never feel like there is enough time, and in the moment, it may feel like Netflix is a better option than sleep, however, when you make improving your sleep a priority, you will be more likely to stick to your plan.
- Go slow. Just like any behavior change you make, it is better to ease into it than to try to force something that is challenging and potentially uncomfortable. You will be looking to create a new habit which can take time. If the issue is that you stay up too late, start going to bed just ten to fifteen minutes earlier until that feels easier. Then continue to increase in ten-to-fifteen-minute increments slowly, until you are consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Schedule your day. Each morning, schedule what you need to get done in your day, including what time you need to be in bed. This will help you make sure that you are not overscheduling your day and will help make sure you are using your time wisely. As part of this, schedule out what you will do for the hour prior to going to bed. Be sure this time involves doing something that is relaxing so that you will be able to fall asleep easier when you get into bed.
- Ask for help. If you feel like there is too much to do before you go to bed, ask for help. Whether you need other members of your household to help pick up or you need to delegate some work, figure out how to get some things off your schedule so that you have the time you need to get proper sleep. Figure out what can go, what you can get help with, and what can be put off until later. Ultimately you will get more done in less time when you start getting enough sleep and you are functioning at your best.
- Decrease stress. If your mind races when your head hits the pillow, you will be more inclined to avoid going to bed. Anytime you are feeling stressed, it is because of what you are thinking. You are likely making lists of all the things that need to get done or of all the worst-case scenarios that could play out related to something going on in your life. If you are not doing that, you may be replaying your day and questioning all the things that did not go the way you had hoped they would. Regular exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, and taking a warm bath can all help with lowering stress levels. However, learning to manage your mind is the most effective way to decrease stress. Coaching and practicing mindfulness meditation are both effective in helping with this.
- Practice Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness helps you train your brain to stay in the present moment. When you are able to do this, you are able to reduce or eliminate worrying about the worst-case scenarios that could happen in your future. It also helps you reduce overanalyzing and beating yourself up about things that have happened in the past.
- Set the right conditions. You may not like these, but I think you will like getting the right amount of sleep, waking up refreshed, and being able to function at your best more than you don’t like these! Sleep in a cool room. Get off screens at least one hour before bed. Don’t have a television on while you are sleeping. Don’t drink alcohol or eat too much before bed. Cut off caffeine in the early afternoon at the latest. Don’t exercise before bed. Reducing or eliminating these things will help you relax and fall asleep faster. I would recommend focusing on one of these at a time. Once you are used to one change, then you can consider making another.
Just because you have been struggling with sleep does not mean you will always struggle with sleep. I have seen numerous clients improve their sleep in ways they did not think were possible. If you want to talk further or if you want to try to fast track your sleep improvements with coaching, email [email protected]. In some instances sleep problems are the result of a medical condition. If you think there could be an underlying medical concern such as sleep apnea, you should consult with your physician to see what treatment options may be available.
Live your best boss lady life!
Karen Vincent Solutions
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