Helpful sleep behaviours
Kicking insomnia and creating new sleep habits for deep refreshing sleep;
Not being able to get to sleep at night, becomes a habit learned accidentally. The great news is…… because it’s a habit, it CAN be changed. We learn some of our habits by association. For example, our pets know when you pick up their bowl, it will probably return with food, you may expect sitting in a particular chair will make you feel relaxed. Unconsciously your bed may have, over the course of experiencing insomnia, become accidentally associated with anxiety, and being awake. This is why changing your bed behaviours is one of the most important things you will do that will get you back to sleeping well again.
Stick to a standard bedtime
Whether you are trying the sleep resetting program or other tips on this site to aid your body getting back to it’s natural sleep-wake cycle, you need to choose a standard bed time. This should be later in the evening, at least 3-4 hours after exercising and at least 2-3 hours after eating dinner. If you are not feeling sleepy, stay up a bit later. Only go to bed when you are feeling sleepy. Don’t go to bed earlier. While you are recovering from insomnia by resetting your body’s sleep-wake cycle, stick to your standard bedtime and avoid sleeping in.
Bed is ONLY for sleeping!
Only use your bed for sleeping and sexual activities. Remember insomnia is a habit. Not sleeping in bed is a habit that has probably been built up by associating being in bed with not sleeping. What we want to do is create a good solid link between your mind, body and behavior of sleep and bed. To do this you need to not use the bed for any of your awake activities; watching television, reading, knitting, talking etc. Many people like to read before bed because it makes them sleepy and then roll over to sleep. For you, the person who has had trouble falling asleep, NO AWAKE ACTIVITIES IN BED! Do your winding down for the evening activities in another room and ONLY go to bed when you feel sleepy.
Get up if you can’t sleep
If you have been in bed for what you believe is around 20 minutes and are not sleeping, get up and do something untill you feel sleepy. That activity should not be using a computer or watching television, because of what the emitted light may do to your circadian rhythms. Try meditating in the dark, listening to soft music or reading with a very low light, NOT in your bedroom. This will help reaffirm to your mind and body that only sleep is associated with being in bed.
Don’t watch the clock
If you must have a clock in the room you are sleeping in don’t have it anywhere near your bed and don’t have it facing so you can read the time from your bed. You don’t need to check the time while you are in bed. Watching the clock may cause anxiety and create more of a feeling of pressure to “get to sleep”. Don’t check it even once! Trust that the alarm clock will go off in the morning and that your body will naturally know when to wake up.
Additionally, the electromagnetic fields emitted from electrical appliances are not going to help your sleep, so if you need to keep any appliances on, put them far away from your bed.