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Struggling To Get Enough Sleep? Here Are Three Bedtime Hacks To Help

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Ever woken up feeling exhausted and so-not-ready to face yet another day of unending chores and work? Does your soul feel like it needs a seven-day package to some spa retreat in serene mountains? If yes, then perhaps you need to ask yourself, “Am I sleep deprived”? A lot of us are sleeping lesser than we used to and lesser than we need to. I was one such person two years ago. Staying up late, often till wee hours every morning, I would get up feeling like a distant desi cousin of Count Dracula, averse to light and baying for blood if anyone dares cross me.

However, two years ago, when I started taking help for my depression, I also realised that I had to make some serious lifestyle changes if I wanted to get my sleep back on track. The reason? Because healing from a mental health issue came across as an exhausting task, one I felt I could not tackle unless my mind and body were fully charged for it. So I made some changes in my bedtime routine to ensure that lack of sleep was one thing I didn’t have to worry about.

Also Read: Include These Foods In Your Diet To Help Fight Depression

However, once I began to sleep more, I observed that I began to feel lighter, more energetic and positive. Could my sleeplessness be due to my depression or vice versa? I don’t know yet. But one thing is for sure, I am sleeping better than usual these days and that can never be a bad thing.

So here are three bedtime routine changes that helped me sleep better:

Police your screen-time: You know this was going to come up, didn’t you? One of the main reasons why most of us are up at night is because we are glued to our smartphones. Late-night Twitter is a thing, and the series you are watching got so interesting, that you cannot help but watch the next episode is another. But this binge-watching late into the night could also affect both quantity and quality of your sleep. A 2017 study has associated longer screen time close to bedtime with poor sleep quality and decreased sleep efficiency.

Late-night Twitter is a thing, and the series you are watching got so interesting, that you cannot help but watch the next episode.

I know a lot of us lack the discipline to put our phones away at bedtime. So what can be done? What helped me was setting a time limit of using the phone once I was in bed instead. I am gradually developing mental strength to put the phone down once it is time, no matter if I am in the middle of a very interesting chat or a video. This is one form of policing (self-inflicted) that can improve your quality of life. Besides, putting your phone down, even if you are not sleepy gives your eyes some much-needed rest.

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Happy thoughts: Is it just me or do all our life’s troubles team up in our head, the minute it hits the pillow? Once your body stops moving, the mind seems to become hyperactive, cooking up problems and scenarios that don’t even exist. What if I forget to pick up my kid from the bus stop tomorrow? What if the laptop doesn’t start for my crucial 10 a.m. meeting? I haven’t taken out insurance and I am 35, what if I meet an accident tomorrow when I step out to buy groceries? It only gets more ridiculous and before you know it, you are all knotted up and too tense to sleep. By the time you find solutions for all your hypothetical problems, it is already time to deal with the real ones.

Shopping, reading, a stroll in the garden, a romantic date; think about whatever calms you down and makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Use your hyperactive imagination to weave thoughts that bring you happiness and not stress.

So this is a trick I learned from a friend of mine. Try to consciously block out bad thoughts when you go to bed and think of things that make you happy. Think of the impending vacation that you have been planning to take, or that coffee date you intend to go on this coming Sunday. Shopping, reading, a stroll in the garden, a romantic date; whatever calms you down and makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Use your hyperactive imagination to weave thoughts that bring you happiness and not stress.

Also Read: Unhappiness With Breast Size Could Be Costing Women Their Well-Being

Cheat days: Self control of any kind doesn’t come easily to a lot of us. We are not kids to go to bed on time, are we? Adulting would certainly lose its charm if you had to be in bed by a certain time sans your phone. Which is why you can allow yourselves weekly cheat days. Stay up late on weekends, binge watch all the shows that you want to, or just listen to music and read a book. Cheat days for sleeping have worked for me in the same manner as cheat days for diets do. They keep monotony and boredom out. Even if you are sleeping on time for a good seven or eight hours on five out of seven days, that’s not a bad deal, is it?

Are there any hacks you have been using to get better sleep? Do share them with us.

Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash
The views expressed are the author’s own.