How to sleep well?

Atul Kumar Prasad
5 min readSep 1, 2020


When my clients come in for treatments for some of their challenges like depression anxiety or relational problems, one of the most common associated problems that they have is difficulty in 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 after going through this article. In this article we will talk about how to train your brain to sleep well and it’s called sleep hygiene.

Good 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 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 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 are too different remember our minds like Pavlov’s dog; 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 t o — go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, t o dim the lights cool the temperature, decrease your stimulation — means — do quiet activities like reading a book or a bath because these helps trigger calm, don’t watch TV or exercise right before bed.

Another things you can do is have a routine for right before bed for example in evening you 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 to less than 30 minutes and cut our screen time before bed so not only are devices like phones and tablets and TVs very stimulating and this triggers the alerting system in brain but also tone of the light emanated from your screen tends to have a bluish tint to it and this is similar to bluish light in the mornings so again this is a biological trigger to wake up.

Research shows blue toned lights tend to trigger alertness and a red or yellow toned light tends 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 yellow and red 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 don’t 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 4–6 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 are 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, better energy and be more focused 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 to sleep and it might help people fall asleep, alcohol interferes with your brains ability to sleep well and repair itself especially during second half of the night so that leaves you feeling more exhausted later.

Another thing to think 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 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. You can try this as relaxation routine or meditation before bed this is something like progressive muscle relaxation, you could listen to a guided imagery exercise and again as you are trying to create associations for your brain to trigger that sleep response you want to use only your bed for sleeping. If your brain associates your bed with watching TV or working on your laptop, eating etc. your brain is going to associate your bed with alertness not sleep. Ignore stimuli and watch boring shows or listen boring audio books that you don’t like.

Consult your doctor for better results.

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