Here are some strategies to help you wind down for the day and fall asleep:
- Dim the lights at home after sunset. If you do nothing else from this list, do this! Simple but this works. Why? Your body is designed to respond to dim lights with sleep. If you’ve ever been to a conference or seminar where they dim the lights, you’ll find yourself struggling to stay awake. Why? Because the dim lights tell your body it is time to wind down. It’s simple, it works and it’s free. Works very well if you want to wind down your kids too. As a father of two very energetic boys, I can tell you this works!
- Dim the lights on your devices too. Most phones now come with some sort of ‘night mode’ which dims the brightness of the screen after sunset. For desktops and laptops, install f.lux which does the same thing (and it's free). I’ve been using this for years.
- Stay away from all electronic devices (TV, phones, tablets etc) forat least 30 minutes before you want to sleep. Try reading a book (a physical one!).
- Be consistent - Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- Make your sleeping room as dark as it can be. There should be no light creeping in anywhere. Ideally, it should be pitch black - which means you cannot see your hand if you hold it in front of your face. Most of our houses have lots of light, from gaps between curtains on ACs. Cover those gaps - use tape if you need to. It’s what I’ve done with the little light on my ACs.
- Try to have a bedtime routine- could be a shower, reading a book, some light stretches or a combination of such things. It helps to have a routine as your body will realize it needs to wind down and ease you into sleep.
- Find a comfortable posture to lie down, and just focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale - just stay relaxed and the sleep will follow.
- Don't drink too much water before going to sleep. This can be problem for many, especially women, and that bathroom visit at an odd hour will mess with your sleep.
- Lastly, have your last coffee earlier in the day to see if that helps. I don't have coffee after 5pm.
Here’s a visual to help, it was prepared by Accu-check for people with Diabetes, but applies to everyone.