Since we just switched to Daylight Savings Time, I know that many of us are having difficulty falling asleep. Perhaps your sleep patterns are off. I think this blog post from our therapist, Aisha Brady, LMSW, about how to set the stage for a good night’s sleep can help!
Are you having difficulty falling asleep? In our busy world, we often are consumed with thoughts about what we need to do and what we should have done better. At night your brain may not be ready to settle down into restful sleep. Following are some suggestions my clients say help them feel more settled so they can get quiet and restful sleep.
Evaluate Your Bedroom Environment
- What does your bedroom look like?
- What color are the walls? Is the color soothing or stimulating? Do you like the color?
- Is your room cluttered? Cluttered or not, is your room organized or messy?
- Does it contain work or study materials?
- What kind of lighting is in the room?
- Do you have bright overhead lights or soft lamps?
- Do you have a TV or other electronics in the room? What type of light do your electronics emit?
- How does your room make you feel?
- If you feel overstimulated by your room, it can be almost impossible to relax
- When you don’t like the looks of the room, it can make you feel agitated or depressed
- If you are surrounded by work and home chores, you may feel too tense to relax.
Create a Restful Room
Your room should be your personal retreat, it should bring joy and comfort. Imagine your ideal destination where you feel most relaxed and at peace. Is it a beach, the woods, on a mountain top? Imagine how you can bring cues from that environment into your bedroom.
- Use soft colors of the sea, forest floor, or warm sunset
- Hang pictures that bring joy and a sense of peace with views of an ideal landscape
- Light the room with soft lamp light and avoid bright overhead lights
- Use essential oils with scents that are relaxing and promote clarity
- Listen to relaxing music or use a sound machine with ocean waves or chirping crickets.
Create New Habits that Encourage Sleep
- Stop eating in bed
- Create a work/electronic station outside of the bedroom
- Remove clutter and maintain a habit of neatness:
- Put away the “stuff” laying on the floors and furniture tops
- Put your clothes away
Develop a Sleep Routine
It helps to fall asleep by trying to relax, turn off your “to do list” in your head, and be in the present moment:
- Lie down and close your eyes.
- Focus on the furthest-away sound you can hear
- Listen to the sounds you normally ignore – water, wind, or maybe train whistles
- Take some slow, deep breaths
- Distract from your busy thoughts by focusing on the sounds and smells
- Relax your muscles and notice how your body feels being still and present.
With the right environment, you can bring stressful days to an end in a room that creates peace and serenity and promotes a good night’s rest with a well refreshed awakening.