By Carol Bailey Floyd
A good night’s sleep is a vital part of an effective and fulfilling life. Good sleeping habits are powerful wellness tools. Lack of sleep can make us groggy, forgetful, and off-balance.
We can find it difficult to function in many aspects of our lives if we are tired. Extreme loss of sleep can even cause hallucinations. I have noticed that I can survive one night with no sleep, but any more than that will cause me problems.
I have studied sleep patterns for many years. Once, I even did a presentation on sleep at a conference. I ask my friends about their sleep habits conversationally, and over the years, I have developed many routines that I have found to be helpful wellness tools for falling asleep.
- Be careful with caffeine consumption, especially in the evening. The caffeine that gives you energy during the day may keep you awake at night.
- Establish regular bedtimes and waking times whenever possible.
- Avoid a lot of screen time right before you want to go to sleep. Using TV, cell phone, and computer screen time can keep you awake.
- Take a shower or warm bath before bedtime.
- Read right before going to sleep. I don’t think I would ever go to sleep if I didn’t read first. It’s a wonderful way to end my day.
- Try to determine the amount of sleep that works best for you and make that your goal as often as possible.
- Take deep breaths.
- Play peaceful music, an audio book, or nature sounds.
- Try writing in a gratitude journal before you go to sleep. Listing five gratitudes from the day can put you in a good frame of mind before sleep, and you will most likely wake up in a good mood too! It is fun to reread your lists occasionally. There are different ways to express your gratitude in writing. Try whatever works best for you.
- Get up and play with a project if you are a fan of arts and crafts, and are having trouble sleeping. Sometimes even visualizing creating art while you are in bed might lead to some creative ideas in the morning.
- Go through the ABCs of gratitude: think A – I am so grateful for apples. I especially love them in the fall, bobbing for apples at Halloween, and how my mother used to peel apples for me. Then proceed to B, C, D etc. This may seem silly, but most people can’t make it through more than a few letters.
- Develop a story in your imagination. I have found this to be quite entertaining and useful.
- Do a creative visualization like walking on the beach or being in a favorite place.
- Count sheep–yes really!
- Tense and relax muscle sets area by area.
- Keep pen and paper handy beside your bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, write out whatever is on your mind. In the morning, you might be surprised by the little wisdom burst that happened.
- Count backwards from 124 (or whatever).
- Sing! Sometimes I sing (in my mind) some lullabies to myself. A friend of mine sings old hymns. This is a lovely and beneficial way to lull yourself to sleep.
- Try self-hypnosis, which can be very effective. A hypnotherapist can help you learn how to give this gift to yourself.
- Make a to-do list before you go to sleep. You can also write out worries. This will help clear your mind so you can get ready for your revitalizing snoozefest.
- Give meditation and breathing exercises a try. There are many different types, so you can pick the one that best suits you. Meditating is a good way to calm your mind and get ready to sleep. Here is a simple breathing exercise: breathe into the count of four, breathe out slowly to the count of five.
A big thank you to friends who gave me suggestions for encouraging a good night’s sleep.
If you have any sleep success methods, please share them on the WRAP Facebook page, or send them to email@example.com, so they can be shared with others in the WRAP community.
I will definitely add them to my collection and pass them along.
Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Updated Edition
WRAP: Five Key Concepts to Guide Your Path to Wellness (free download)
WRAP Coloring Book (free download)
Carol Bailey Floyd is a Retired Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and Former Director of Programs, Mental Health Recovery and WRAP