Sleep Hygiene: Train your Brain to Fall Asleep and Sleep Better

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when my clients come in for treatment for some of their challenges like

depression anxiety or relational problems one of the most common

associated problems that they have is difficulty sleeping this shows up as

either having a hard time falling asleep staying asleep or just feeling tired all

the time getting enough quality sleep can make your brain function much better

and you'll be better at solving problems and feel more self control in this video

we're gonna talk about how to train your brain to sleep well and it's called sleep hygiene

hi everyone Emma McAdam here I'm a licensed

therapist and I just wanted to remind you that I've got in-depth mental health

courses on right now they're on sale for $9.99 so check out the link

in the description okay back to sleep hygiene so sleep is essential for good

mental health lack of sleep can actually cause mental illness research is showing

that one of the most effective ways to treat depression is by helping people

improve the quality and the quantity of their sleep one study of people with

depression found that after resolving their insomnia 87% of them experienced

major improvements in their depression their depression symptoms disappeared

after eight weeks of good sleep so how do we improve our ability to get sleep

we can train our brain to sleep better sleep hygiene means going through a

routine that trains your brain and body to know when to sleep so like a muscle

that strengthens with practice sleeping well is a skill we can develop okay so

because you're trying to trigger the autonomic nervous system to start your

sleep cycle it's really important to use a routine if you've ever tried to get a

toddler to fall asleep you know how important it is to stick to a routine

adults aren't too different remember our minds like Pavlov's dogs

they learn to associate sight smells and activities with these reflexive

responses that are usually outside of our direct control we can't force

ourselves to sleep but we can train our brain to know when to sleep so start by

creating a wind down routine before bedtime that the brain associates with

sleeping to do this you want to keep a consistent schedule whenever possible so

try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day

dim the lights cool the temperature and decrease your stimulation so for example

do quiet activities like reading a book or taking a bath because these help

trigger calm don't watch TV or exercise right before bed another thing you can

do is have a routine for right before bed so for example in the evening you do

a snack and you change into pajamas then you brush teeth and get into bed read a

book pray and go to sleep in addition to a routine there are some things you can

do during the day that are going to improve your ability to fall asleep and

stay asleep limit your naps during the day to less than 30 minutes cut out

screen time before bed so not only are devices like phones and tablets and TVs

very stimulating and this triggers the alerting system in the brain but

also the tone of the light emanated from your screen tends to have a bluish tint

to it and this is similar to the bluish light in the mornings so again this is a

biological trigger to wake up research shows that blue toned lights tend to

trigger alertness and a red or yellow toned lights tend to trigger calmness so

if you must use your phone or tablet before bed check to see if it has a

night shift setting this will shift your screen colors toward the red and yellow

range next turn your screen brightness down as low as possible

and use the night setting for reading and this makes it so your text appears

as white letters on a black background so many programs have this option in

their settings also put your phone on do not disturb mode while you're sleeping

and don't check your work emails right before bed or read anything that could

be stressful like the news or even your Facebook feed another thing

you want to do is take a look at your caffeine use avoid caffeine for at least

4 to 6 hours before bedtime even one cup of coffee or tea even early

in the morning that can affect your sleep for up to 48 hours so if you're

not sure of how caffeine is impacting you

you could try going off caffeine for one week the first couple of days you might

feel more tired and by day four you will probably start feeling better you'll

have better sleep you'll have better energy and be more focused and you'll

most likely be waking up less at night and you'll find it easier to fall asleep

within one week most people say I feel better off caffeine than on caffeine

they report better energy better mood and better sleep another thing you want

to think about is limiting alcohol use while some people believe that alcohol

helps them sleep and it might help people fall asleep alcohol interferes

with your brain's ability to sleep well and repair itself especially during the

second half of the night so that leaves you feeling more exhausted later another

thing to think about is to avoid rich heavy or fatty foods before bedtime

anything that might cause heartburn or indigestion can interfere with sleep but

so can hunger so you could try a snack like a banana and peanut butter before

bed a warm glass of milk before bed has also been shown in clinical studies to

be as effective as many sleep medications but a lot of people just

don't like the idea of drinking warm milk you may want to try it

exercise during the day can also greatly improve your ability to sleep so even 10

minutes of exercise can make a difference also light and sound can

trigger alertness so use earplugs blackout curtains or eye masks to help

cut out that extra stimuli another thing you can try is a relaxation routine or

meditation before bed this is something like progressive muscle relaxation you

could check out the video I made on that or you could listen to a guided imagery

exercise and again as you're trying to create associations for your

to trigger that sleep response you want to only use your bed for sleeping and

sex if your brain associates your bed with watching TV or working on your

laptop eating paying bills and etc your brain is gonna associate your bed with

alertness not sleep if you're having a very hard time falling asleep or falling

back asleep try getting up get out of bed and do something really boring like

listening to a boring audio book or the old documentary don't do anything too

stimulating when I'm having a hard time sleeping I like to listen to this show

called Time Team where a bunch of British archaeologists try and dig to

find you know history but it's a pretty slow show and it helps me fall asleep

okay I hope you found these tips helpful and if you liked this video check out my

other video called insomnia antidote where I teach one way to turn off worry

and fall asleep thanks for watching and take care