8 ways to get better sleep

By: Tralee Pearce

Getty Images Author: Canadian Living Credits: Getty Images


8 ways to get better sleep

By: Tralee Pearce
1. Stay up late.
This encourages the homeostatic process to kick in and induces natural sleepiness. Note: There's a formula for this. Ask your doctor or check out  Dr. Davidson's book, Sink Into Sleep: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Reversing Insomnia (Demos, 2013).

2. Keep a constant wake-up time, regardless of how little sleep you've had.

It keeps the circadian system stable and strong.(Sorry, no weekend sleep-ins.)

3. Reserve your bed for sleep (and sex).
No reading, working or lounging. If you're awake and your mind is racing, go into another room.

4. Believe the research.
Do you fear you'll be useless in the morning? Repeat after us: Studies show that, though you might feel a little moody, others at work won't detect any slide in your performance.

5. Address racing thoughts before they begin.

If you're mulling over work or family issues, write down your thoughts around 7 p.m. and make a plan to address your concerns, even if it's temporary—for example, telling yourself that you can't do anything more tonight and that you'll think about it tomorrow at noon.

6. If you're having trouble falling asleep, visualize.
It doesn't have to be a relaxing beach scene—a chair or a table will suffice. Boring is good.

7. If you suffer from insomnia as well as depression or anxiety, seek treatment for both conditions at the same time.
Getting better sleep may ease your other symptoms, according to research from Ryerson University in Toronto.

8. Watch the meds.
Over-the-counter sleep aids lose effectiveness over time. Prescription medications are best suited to episodes of acute insomnia triggered by grief or trauma; they can be addictive and lose effectiveness,too. CBT-I often involves weaning patients off sleeping pills.

Check out how sleep deprivation can affect your mental health.

This story was originally part of "Talk Yourself Into A Good Night's Sleep" in the May 2015 issue.
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8 ways to get better sleep