If you have difficulty falling and staying asleep, you’re not alone. While there can be many underlying factors for insomnia, incorporating certain daytime activities into your routine can help you feel more restful in the evening. Here are five things you can do during the day that’ll help you get a better sleep.

1. Be Consistent with Your Sleep Schedule

Sticking to a schedule is the best way to form a habit. Once you regulate your body’s internal clock, you’ll develop a natural sleep-wake cycle. It’s especially important to get up at the same time each morning. Even if you struggle to fall asleep, forcing yourself to get up at a consistent time (even on weekends) will ensure that you’re feeling tired by the time you’re heading to bed. This is why avoiding long naps during the day is important. If you do need to rest in the daytime, aim for a short nap (20-30 minutes) early in the afternoon.

2. Expose Yourself to Sunlightwoman basking the sun light

Sunlight is a natural cue for your body’s clock. When you get some sun in the first hour or two after waking up, you’ll feel more awake, energized, and ready to take on the day. Sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Try to have breakfast in front of a well-lit window, take a walk around the block during lunch, or just sit outside for a few minutes each day. If getting outside isn’t an easy option, consider investing in a light therapy lamp that mimics sunlight.

3. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

While it can be great to start the morning with a cup of coffee, consuming too much caffeine throughout the day can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, or energy drinks around ten hours before you get to bed. Though alcohol can initially make you feel drowsy, it can also disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to fragmented sleep. Be mindful of how alcohol affects your sleep quality. If having a glass or two of wine with dinner leaves you tossing and turning later, skip it. If you’re struggling with sleep issues, consider fully cutting back on both substances to see if it makes a difference.

4. Relax in the Evening

When you develop a routine before bed that eases your mind and prepares your body for sleep, you’ll have a more restful night. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques that work for you, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing some simple stretches before getting into bed. This is also a great time to practice meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness. Try to avoid scrolling on social media, watching a scary movie, or doing anything that’ll get your heart rate up.

5. Get Plenty of Exercise

Exercise isn’t just great for your physical health; it can also help you sleep better. Engaging in regular physical activity is another practice that helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, but be mindful of the timing. Exercising too close to bedtime can actually interfere with sleep, so try to schedule your workouts earlier in the day if possible.

Are You Struggling with Insomnia?

If you’re not having restful sleep, it could be a symptom of a bigger issue. Insomnia is a sign of many mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. If you suspect your racing thoughts or depressed mood are to blame for your sleep problems, consider talking to a mental health professional. In therapy, you’ll learn healthy ways of coping with stress, how to regulate your emotions, and better ways of communicating with others.

To find out more about how therapy can help you get better sleep, please reach out to us.