In our screen-obsessed, multi-tasking society, one thing that often moves to the bottom of our myriad lists is sleep. Absolutely essential for physical, emotional, and psychological health, sleep is one of the most natural ways the body and mind heal and restore. However, most adolescents and adults do not get enough sleep.
Dr. Glenn Horres, M.D., a psychiatrist at Lowcountry Providers in Mount Pleasant, suggests a pre-sleep “playbook” to help cultivate good habits. “How you prepare for bed has a cause-and-effect relationship with how well you sleep,” he says.
Here are a few tips recommended by the National Sleep Foundation:
- A Consistent Routine: Following the same steps each night, including putting on your pajamas and brushing your teeth, can reinforce in your mind that it’s bedtime.
- Wind Down: Put yourself in a state of calm with soft music, light stretching, or reading.
- Dim Your Lights: Bright lights can hinder the production of melatonin, a hormone that the body creates to facilitate sleep.
- Unplug: Be device-free for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Screens cause mental stimulation that is hard to shut off and their blue light decreases melatonin production.
- Test Methods of Relaxation: Instead of making falling asleep your goal, focus on relaxation. Meditation, mindfulness, and paced breathing can put you in the right mindset for bed.
- Don’t Toss and Turn: If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes, get up and stretch, read, or do something calming in low light before trying to fall back asleep.