I consider myself a morning person. I woke up at 12:30pm today, which is ridiculously late for me. My checklist of things to accomplish has not been touched because I missed the morning window to begin my tasks, and therefore feel lazy, tired, and moody. Even as I write this post (it’s 6pm), I’m laying on my couch watching my 4th rerun of “Man vs Food” and attempting to muster enough energy to go to the grocery store.
Which brings me to an important question: “How is your sleep?” I ask each of my patients this question since sleep has such a profound effect on mood. In addition to offering medications for insomnia (if necessary), I educate my patients on the importance of “sleep hygiene.” Sleep Hygiene consists of healthy habits one can develop in order to routinely sleep well, which includes the following:
1. Sleep only when sleepy – this reduces the time you’re awake in bed.
2. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 mins., get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy. (do a low stimulating activity such as readying something boring, etc., but be sure to avoid bright light)
3. Don’t take naps.
4. Get up and go to bed the same time every day (Even on weekends! I know this is hard, especially after a ridiculously tough week at work)
5. Refrain from exercise at least 4 hrs before bedtime.
6. Develop sleep rituals. (give your body cues that it’s time to slow down & sleep – listen to relaxing music, have a cup of tea, etc.)
7. Only use your bed for the 2 “S’s” — Sleep and Sex. (no work, reading, watching tv, doing bills, etc).
8. Stay away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 4-6 hrs before bed.
9. Have a light snack before bed. (if an empty stomach interferes with your sleep)
10. Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. (I love the peaceful quality of neutral tones with pops of black and muted blue in the bedroom below)
For more on sleep hygiene, you can check out this link http://www.sleepeducation.com/Hygiene.aspx. Typing this post made me realize how lazy I’ve been all day, so now I’m off to buy food! And time to take my own advice and head to bed by 11pm (instead of 4am like the night before).