About two dozen times, we have written about sleep. Nonetheless, we have much more to learn. Regarding the sleep difficulties facing so many of us. Therefore, we examine surprising sleep strategies to try out. These jumped to my list of musts to test out.
Will These Work for Us? Surprising Sleep Strategies to Try Out
Don’t we wish that we could sleep more easily than the following Wall Street Journal cartoon by Efi Chalikopoulou shows? I sure do. 🙂
For useful new sleep tips, we turn to Elizabeth Bernstein, writing for the Wall Street Journal:
Approximately 40% of the population has had sleep problems during the pandemic, according to a meta-analysis of 44 studies from 13 countries published online in February in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Scientists say many of the things we do to chase sleep are actually hurting us, and recommend a counterintuitive approach instead: Stay in bed for less time, not more.
Ironically, insomnia is also driven by the things we do to try to solve it, experts say. We start to chase sleep — waking up later, taking naps, going to bed too early. This diminishes our sleep drive, which is our body’s need for sleep. It makes it harder to sleep when we’re supposed to. And it creates a vicious cycle: More time in bed means more opportunity for frustration and failure. Before long, we’ve taught our brain to associate our bed with the negative emotions we feel lying there.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep. Keep consistent wake-up and bedtimes. Keep the bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and exercise before bed. Turn off your screens 30 to 60 minutes before trying to go to sleep.
Don’t chase sleep by going to bed early. In addition, don’t sleep late. Don’t nap. Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy. Learn the difference between tiredness and sleepiness. (With sleepiness your eyes drooping.) Don’t stay in bed unless you’re asleep. Tossing and turning in bed reinforces your brain’s association between wakefulness and the bed.
Stick to your natural circadian rhythm. You will not easily change whether you’re a night owl or an early bird. Recognize when you sleep best and stick with it. Stop catastrophizing. Quit telling yourself you won’t be able to sleep, or to function the next day. Ask yourself if these thoughts are really true.
Practice gratitude. If you find yourself starting to ruminate in bed, think about the things you are grateful for, or savor your favorite moments from the day..
Listen to someone else’s voice. A pleasant but unexciting audiobook is ideal. Turn it on low volume when you go to bed. This will distract you from your thoughts.