Most people who only get a couple hours of sleep know how it affects their state of mind. Crankiness, sluggishness and even anxiety about being able to function properly can quickly follow a night of sleeplessness. Depression can even be exaggerated in some cases, and headaches are not uncommon.
There are ways to change your sleep schedule, but sometimes it can be difficult to get out of a set routine.
One way to get a better night’s sleep and to change the time your body decides to fall asleep is to turn off all the lights. The TV, computer and any lights shouldn’t be on while you’re trying to fall asleep, because light stimulates “a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake,” according to the National Sleep Foundation’s website.
An hour before you sleep should be the time when you start limiting lighting and activities, according to the website.
The American Sleep Association has multiple tips for “sleep hygiene” for people who have insomnia to try and improve their sleep.
Here are some tips that the website lists:
1) “Maintain a regular sleep routine.” This means you should go to sleep and wake up within 20 minutes of the times that you did the previous day and night.
2) “Avoid naps if possible.” The amount of sleep needed can decrease or change because of naps, and this can lead to insomnia during the day that you decided to take a nap.
3) “Don’t stay in bed awake for more than five to 10 minutes.” The best thing to do, according to the website, is to get up and sit in a chair in the dark if your mind is racing, then go back to bed when sleepy. Watching TV or playing on the computer will only make you more awake, so don’t try that.
4) “Don’t watch TV or read in bed.” Don’t do daytime activities in bed, which is reserved for sleep and sex.
5) “Do not drink caffeine inappropriately.” Soda, tea and coffee with caffeine can put off sleep for up to six hours, according to www.kidshealth.org. Drinking too many liquids in general right before bedtime can keep you awake if you need to go to the bathroom constantly as well.