I’m a small-town California girl turned mental health therapist. Favorite things: babies (but don’t have my own!), comfy pants, and taking too many pictures. I'm all about realistic self-care, mental health for everyone, and personal growth even if you hate that phrase (cause I do!).
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I’ll keep saying it––sleep is SO important for emotional and mental health. And there’s a lot to cover on the topic. In the previous post, I shared a bunch of “physical” tools to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better. Today, I want to talk about creating a sleep-friendly environment, long before lights out.
A dark room is important for creating a good environment for sleep. See if you can reduce the light outside your bedroom window. If not, stores like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, or Ikea have thick curtains made specifically for blocking out light. But, I personally prefer to not use these, since I find that allowing the morning light to flow in naturally as dawn breaks helps my body with waking up in the morning. Of course opening the curtains right away in the morning is another option. Find what works for you!
It’s also a good idea to transition the amount of lights on in your living space. A good rule of them is to take cues from the amount of light outside––ie when it gets dark outside, make sure to turn your lights lower, either using dimmers or only a few low light lamps rather than overhead or bright lights. This helps our bodies receive the natural signals that bedtime is coming. Lighting a candle can also be a soothing ritual for nighttime.
There’s some emerging research, which most of us have heard, about how the blue light emitted from our various devices’ screens interferes with the sleep cycle processes. One idea, if you have an iphone is to use the “night mode” in the display settings that drastically reduces the blue light on your screen display after a certain time (that you set). I have that set up on my phone so I don’t have to think about it, it just changes it. Another option is to look online for blue light shielding glasses, which claim to reduce the blue-light your eye takes in. I ordered a cheap pair from Amazon. To be honest, I’m not 100% convinced that night-mode or the glasses do much, but they are both easy and relatively cheap preventative options, so I try to use them. A better solution is to have a habit of shutting down electronics about an hour before bed, which can be hard to stick to.
If you are a light sleeper and there are noises you cannot control, ear plugs might be a good option. Small fans are also good for creating some white noise and keeping the room cool, which is also recommended for sleep. Some people like to use sound machines that create different kinds of white noise (think crashing waves, jungle sounds, storm, or just static). Essential oil diffusers also make white noise, and some have options to stay on for different amounts of time or until they run out of water.
Listen to some relaxing music when it gets closer to bedtime. For awhile, I put on a James Taylor record around 8pm every night. I really believe consistent rituals like this help us transition to sleep better.
Have you tried any of these tips for getting to sleep faster or having mores restful sleep? Let me know how it went!
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by Kylie |
October 17, 2018
© Tend and Mend, Kylie Bennett 2019.
I'm Kylie. I’m a small-town California girl turned mental health therapist. Favorite things: babies (but don’t have my own!), comfy pants, and taking too many pictures. I'm all about realistic self-care, mental health for everyone, and personal growth even if you hate that phrase (cause I do!).