I get it. You want to get better and deeper sleep, but you find that you can’t consistently stick to your bedtime routine. There is always something that comes up to keep you from getting into bed, and too much on your mind once you get there to allow for sleeping. This week I am going to show you my favorite hacks to get the best quality of sleep, even if you are short on time.
One common problem with sleep that I see all the time with my patients is that they can’t get into bed. They have a list a mile long of tasks they want to accomplish before turning in for the evening. It is hard to prime the body for sleep if you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off right until bedtime. My first hack has worked wonders for people who just can’t seem to get to bed….let’s see if it can work for you too!
6 Hacks For a Better Night’s Sleep
- Set an Alarm- For the time you want to GET INTO BED. Yes, you heard me right. The sleep problem so many people have is getting to bed, not falling asleep. There is always going to be something to watch or read on the internet, or one more chore to do. Setting an alarm that tells you it is time to go to bed makes it a commitment and gets your “going to bed” process started at a decent hour. Try this: set your alarm for 10 pm for 1 week and see if it helps you get to bed earlier. We often push to get things done at night and end up sleep deprived. If you do the task in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, it likely won’t take you as long to complete.
- Amber Glasses- While amber glasses may look funny, they are very helpful for people who, for whatever reason, cannot turn off all electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed. Amber glasses help to block the blue light, which is what tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. I suggest my patients put their amber glasses on for any TV/computer time that they do once the sun has gone down. Amber glasses can be found on Amazon.
- Epsom Salt Bath- I talked about the benefits of having a hot shower in my bedtime routine post. Having an Epsom salt bath has added benefits to help relax muscles and encourage a state of sleepiness due to the magnesium in the salts. I recommend having a bath about 2 hours before you want to fall asleep and to stay in the tub for at least 20 min. Some of my patients watch their favorite show on Netflix in the tub, while wearing their amber glasses of course.
- Bedtime Snack- A bedtime snack helps to keep your blood sugar stable all night. This is especially important if you are someone who wakes up during the night. You could be waking up because your body has “burned through all of its fuel” and thinks it is morning. My favorite bedtime snack is a handful of pumpkin seeds.
- Wear Socks- It is not uncommon for circulation to slow down a bit at night causing cold feet. So many of my patients report lying in bed awake at night because they have cold feet. Put some socks on! Once your feet are warm, it makes it easier to drift off. Similarly, if your feet get too hot at night, stick them out of the blankets to regulate.
- Open the Curtains First Thing in the Morning- This helps your body to recognize that it is indeed morning, and helps stop the production of melatonin. Looking out the window into the sun for 10-15 minutes can help get your energy up in the morning and helps to solidify your circadian rhythms.
This week I would like everyone to try setting an alarm for when they are going to get into bed. Please just do it! It makes a huge difference in the quality of your sleep.
Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.