For those of us still living in denial that summer is really over and the days have gotten shorter; it may be difficult to adjust sleep patterns now that the 24/7 fun has become routine!
"Once summer flies by and fall is knocking at our doorsteps, many people find it more difficult to adjust their sleep schedule back to what it was before;" says psychologist Shelby Freedman Harris.
When fall first arrives, it's easy to try to maintain activities at night; making it difficult to fall asleep at a decent hour. This creates a domino affect into more trouble getting up in the morning; sleepless afternoons and sleeping in on the weekends in an attempt to "catch up."
Here Are Some Suggestions That Can Help Those Restless Nights:
- Trick Your Brain- create a fake sunset at home by dimming the lights and avoiding any screen time (computer, cell phone, TV) at least one hour before bedtime. Melatonin, aka the "sleep hormone," comes out when the sun goes in.
- Wind Down - practice winding down your body and mind. Find relaxing activities that are calming and soothing. This is not the time to return phone calls or chat on Facebook!
- Light Bright - when you wake up in the morning, get as much natural light as you can. Open the curtains, eat breakfast in front of a window...bright light stops melatonin production and helps us keep a more consistent sleep schedule.
- Stay The Course - keep a steady sleep-wake schedule seven days a week. What you don't complete tonight will be there in the morning.
- Slow And Steady- go to bed 15 minutes earlier everyday until you reach your target bed and wake times.
- Eat For Sleep- fall back into healthy eating patterns. Limit sugar at night and avoid anything with caffeine. Avoid alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime since it can disrupt sleep.
If the above suggestions still don't send the sandman to your door, speak with your doctor or try a sleep specialist.
"Sleep is the best medication" Dalai Lama
"Without enough sleep, we all become tall 2 year olds" Jojo Jensen
"Living Well...one healthy step at a time"