How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

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Getting plenty of rest is an essential part of maintaining your health as well as your sobriety. Your sleep impacts your mental health in a significant way. You may not realize how getting too little (or too much) sleep might be affecting you. Have you noticed how lack of sleep impacts your mood?  Sticking with a schedule when life gets hectic can make a huge difference. Getting enough sleep gives you the energy to take care of your needs. Here’s how to make sure you get enough sleep.

Why Is Rest So Important?

Sleep impacts major parts of your health. From your brain’s ability to process information during the day to your muscles healing, your body relies on sleep. It’s recommended that every person gets at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. However, the amount of sleep a person requires depends on their age. A child might need eight to twelve hours of sleep, while a teen might need nine to ten.

Sleep also impacts your immune system’s ability to keep you safe from germs, your brain’s ability to learn and retain information, as well as your ability to perform well during the day. Getting enough sleep keeps your physical health and mental health safe. Without the proper amount of sleep, you might find yourself experiencing troubles with socializing, paying attention, mood swings, eating well, and having enough energy to continue with your day.

How Winter Affects Sleep

The change in sunlight can negatively affect our sleep cycles. You might not be used to the sun rising late and setting early. Many people tend to oversleep during the winter, finding themselves taking more naps or having less energy. This becomes worse after daylight savings time when we set our clocks back. The sun sets even later, and that can mess with our circadian rhythm or our own internal clocks.

We need these internal clocks because they inform us when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. The lack of sunlight messes with the chemicals in our brain that help us go to sleep. During the summer, we struggle to sleep more because of the sunlight. However, during the winter, sleep chemicals like melatonin might release prematurely, causing us to sleep more. This can disrupt our sleeping habits, causing us to sleep more, contributing to drowsiness.

5 Tips To Sleep Well

#1 Set an Alarm. The first step to maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is to set the alarm for when you want to wake up. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning to avoid adding stress to your day. Ease into the morning with meditation or stretching. If you plan on taking a nap during the day, set the alarm for that to avoid oversleeping and negatively affecting your schedule.

#2 Follow a Bedtime Routine. When you get ready for bed, you signal your brain that it’s time to sleep. This can include brushing your teeth, stretching before bed, changing into pajamas, or taking a shower. Try to turn electronics off or keep them away from your sleeping space to avoid using them before bed. Play music or a white noise machine to get your brain into sleep mode. Do whatever helps you relax and rest for the night.

#3 Invest In a Good Bed. Sometimes a good night’s sleep comes down to the quality of your sleeping situation. They say invest money in things you plan to use every day, and that includes what you sleep in. Buy yourself a comfortable mattress that fits your sleeping preference. Find yourself comfortable bed sheets and a comforter. Buy yourself a fantastic pillow. Having a bed that doesn’t hurt your back can completely change the quality of your sleep.

#4 Work Out Earlier in the Day. While it might seem logical to work out before bed because it might help you feel tired, this can actually make it harder to go to sleep. Your body might feel tired, but it can still take time to wind down after an exercise. How much of an impact this makes on your sleep depends on the intensity of the workout. Low-intensity workouts tend to be okay before bed, but moderate to high-intensity workouts should be done at least an hour before bed.

#5 Don’t Eat Before Bed. A small snack before bed won’t hurt you, but eating large meals and drinking caffeine can negatively impact your sleep schedule. Eating before bed might cause heartburn, acid reflux, and gastrointestinal distress can make it harder to fall asleep. Additionally, caffeine is a stimulant and will most likely wreak havoc upon your sleeping habits.

If you are struggling to fall asleep, consider what habits are causing it to be more challenging for you to sleep. Keep a consistent sleep schedule by setting your alarm. Try not to sleep in too late to avoid disrupting your schedule on days off. Unless you sleep better with a noise machine in the background, make sure to sleep in a quiet, dark room. Before bed, practice a nightly routine to alert your body to prepare for sleep. Exercise every day, but make sure to save vigorous exercise for earlier in the day.

If you are worried that difficulties with sleeping are more extensive than changing habits, contact a healthcare practitioner about your symptoms. Sleep issues could point to something much more serious, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy. For more information on maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255. We are here to help.  

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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