If that’s not an option, consider tweaking things. Dow recommends an app called Flow, which dyes your computer screen red to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your screens. Apple devices have a similar feature, called night patrol, built into macOS. It’s not as good as avoiding screens, but it’s better than nothing.
Hide the clock
If you wake up all night, don’t panic: It’s normal. Most people wake up five to six times during the night, Dow tells me, but most of the time you don’t remember it unless you’re already anxious about sleep and notice it. time, then think to yourself how long you’ve been awake.
“That calculus, that calculus, is going to wake you up,” Dow says, adding that the problem is even worse if you’re already anxious about sleep. His solution: turn your phone upside down or move your alarm clock so you don’t see the time. “If you don’t see the clock, you’ll fall back asleep and forget you ever woke up,” she told me.
While we’re talking about clocks: try not to depend on the snooze button. Those extra 10 minutes may sound nice, but this is not quality sleep. Consider putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you’ll have to get up to turn it off.
Cool things down
You might think you like a warm bedroom in the winter, but your body doesn’t necessarily agree.
“Humans do better when it’s cooler at night,” Dow says. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Break your bedroom window at night, if you need to, even in winter.
Give your brain something to do
When you can’t sleep, it’s easy to spend your time thinking about how you can’t sleep. That’s why Dow recommends giving your brain something else to focus on.
“Do something that’s moderately interesting,” she says, citing puns, simple math problems, or thinking of a story in your head as examples. Just avoid a classic trope: “Counting sheep is not enough. You can worry and count sheep at the same time; it’s too simple. She recommended counting backwards from 100 to seven instead.
Of course, you can use a distraction instead – an audiobook, for example, or a podcast. But Dow warns that it’s not good to depend on an outside stimulus like that.
“It works, but then we rely on an outside source to help us fall asleep,” she says. “Anytime your tool isn’t there, there’s a risk of failure if you don’t have access to it.”
So find some kind of mental activity that doesn’t depend on a device. “Affirmations, meditations, breathing techniques — you choose, but whenever your brain goes down the path of stressful thoughts, you have to bring it back,” Dow explains.
Have a good rest
Not getting enough sleep makes everything in your life worse. I know: a few years ago, I had persistent insomnia. I was already suffering from depression, in part due to a bad work situation, and my lack of sleep was fueling those issues.
I no longer have these problems thanks to a combination of therapy, medication and an improvement in my work situation. If your sleeping problems are like mine, no trick will solve the problem. Instead, this could be an opportunity to examine what, exactly, is making your life so stressful that you can’t sleep. Maybe you need to leave a toxic work environment, like me. Maybe you are in a bad relationship or in a bad life situation. Or maybe you just need help with your mental health. This is the time to take care of yourself.
I’m grateful for every good night’s sleep I get, and if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, I’m sorry. I hope these tips help you at least a little.