Your day really starts the night before.
We have all experienced this situation before: lying in bed late at night with our phone, watching ‘just one more video’ online, or reading ‘just one more article’. Before we know it, an hour passes and we realize we should have slept hours ago. We grudgingly get back to sleep, wake up the next day tired and sluggish, and vow to sleep earlier the next day — except the cycle happens all over again.
How can we break from this bad habit?
Are there things we can do to sleep well and be more energized the next day?
Experiment and try out these things before going to bed:
Emptying out our mind
Throughout the day, we go through many experiences and emotions. This causes our mind to overflow with ideas, concerns and thoughts that persist in the back of our mind.
Emptying out our mind is a common mindfulness practice to let out these thoughts and stop overflowing throughout the night when we are trying to sleep.
Try these out:
- Write out the events of your day, noting the emotions that you’ve experienced. You might want to check out our Perfect Day series for tips on writing about your day!
- Tune out to some relaxing music
- Engage in some art: painting, drawing, playing an instrument.
When the distractions and stress of our day-to-day lives start to creep into our evenings, we often feel anxious and agitated at night. A report has found out that Singaporeans are among the world’s worst sleepers — averaging only 6.3 hours of sleep on weekdays, far below the global 6.8 hours average. Poor sleep is often caused by stress, and it’s common for Singaporeans stressed by work.
A big part of cooling down before bed is to get one’s mind into a relaxed state, so take the time to calm down and truly chill out. Light some scented candles if that’s your fancy, take a warm shower, and force yourself to do something that’s totally relaxing for you. Lie down, close your eyes and let your mind go perfectly blank.
Stop eating after 8PM
It’s common to feel a little snackish before bedtime and we might crave a sweet treat or two. However, these snacks have a high chance to keep us energized and make it harder to fall asleep later that evening. Your body needs to have time to wind down, and that includes your stomach!
Give your body a rest by not having a late-night snack. Good for the waistline too!
Avoid social media
This might be the hardest one! Putting away our mobile devices an hour or so before we sleep is an excellent idea. Screens of these devices emit blue light which inhibits our sleep patterns. Furthermore, social media is designed to be endlessly distracting — it aims to lure you down the rabbit hole of ‘just one more post’, ‘just one more article’.
Social media triggers thoughts and creates a large influx of information into our brain very quickly. This is not ideal for rest.
Try to limit your browsing to just before your evening routine, then force yourself to get off social media so that you can focus on relaxing and preparing for the next day. There will always be time for it tomorrow. Social media isn’t going anywhere without you.
One habit that’s great to cultivate is reflecting on what you’re grateful for. In your day, there may have have been many events that occured. Think of something which you’re happy to have experienced.
Reflecting and being appreciative before you sleep is a simple but effective way to keep your spirits up and boost your energy for the next day to come.
Another thing you might want to do is to think about what you have achieved in your near perfect day. This can keep you motivated to tackle the next day, and allow your mind to rest in satisfaction of what it has accomplished.
Experts have shown that sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing depression. Then, people with depression often suffer from insomnia too, creating a vicious cycle! In fact, poor mental health is often caused by poor sleeping habits!
Thankfully, there are many medical practitioners and experts in Singapore who specialize in treating sleep disorders. We hope that our tips can help you improve your mental health with proper sleep. If you’d like to talk more about mental health — give our trusted counsellors a call!