I am definitely not a night owl. Now, that doesn’t mean I am a morning person either. Here lately, I have been wanting to stay awake past the time that I need to go to bed. I am willing to sacrifice a good night of sleep and feeling like crap in the morning to simply stay up. I basically have poor sleep hygiene.
Things that Prevent Proper Sleep Hygiene
There are various reasons why I want to stay up and attempt to avoid sleep. The main reason is I feel like I am going to miss something. I know, I sound like a little kid. But my husband stays awake until late and I think that something might happen and I will miss it. I also enjoy the snuggle time I have with my dogs, Jake and Sam. They stick to me like magnets and I feel so loved and accepted by them. Then the movie that is playing may have my attention as well and I want to stay up until the end.
The problem of staying up and fighting sleep is basically a losing battle. I usually fall asleep on the couch and snore my keester off, which irritates my husband and results in poor sleep hygiene.
Being bipolar or anyone with a stressful life, proper sleep hygiene is essential to maintaining a level of stability over the mood swings of the mental illness and the ups and downs of life. My psychiatrists and my therapists have all stressed the importance of good sleep hygiene. I can speak from experience that getting a good night’s sleep helps tremendously with my moods. Consequently, if I do not get that good night’s sleep, I usually pay for it with moods going crazy.
Methods to Help Foster Proper Sleep Hygiene
I am obviously not the best at maintaining proper sleep hygiene, however I am a living example of what happens when someone practices good sleep hygiene as well as bad. Here are some methods that have helped me in the struggle of proper sleep hygiene v. poor sleep hygiene.
- I try to get my bedtime rituals over and done with well before bedtime. Sometimes knowing I have to wash my makeup off and brush my teeth keeps me glued to the couch. Why, you ask? This means I have things undone before I go to bed. When it is time to for me to go to bed, I just want to go to bed.
- I make up my mind that I am going to go to bed at an appropriate time. Sitting here writing this blog, I glanced at the time and noticed it is getting close for me to hit the sack. I think about the consequences if I stay up. I know deep down that the positives outweigh the negatives: I will feel rested when I wake up in the morning, I will have the energy to exercise when I get up and I won’t be so sleepy throughout the day.
- I change my activities before it’s time to meet the sandman to less action, stress, noise and other things that may overstimulate my mind. I might read, have a cup of hot tea or listen to some relaxing music. These as well as other light activities will help reduce the stimuli affecting my brain and body.
You probably have some other ways to relax, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me your ways of getting proper sleep hygiene.
Here are some websites to check out on the topic of sleep hygiene.