There are many reasons for your sleep patterns to be disrupted.

A new rotation at work.

A new baby in the house.

A patient care challenge you can’t seem to solve.

In my medical practice and during my coaching sessions I’m constantly asked how to sleep better at night…and it’s an important question.

A lack of sleep can affect your resilience, make you feel more vulnerable and cloud your judgment.

So if you’re wondering how to sleep better at night – or whenever your schedule allows you to lay down your head and restore your body – what can you do?

It’s important to consult a physician if you think there’s an underlying health issue interrupting your sleep – chronic pain, constant trips to the bathroom, anxiety or depression.

But if it’s simply a matter of not feeling at ease, here are some tips:

7 Ways to Get a Better Sleep at Night…or whenever you get to sleep…

  • Be mindful of your environment.

This means no television, no iPad, iPhone…any “smart” device with a screen that can distract you. I encourage my clients to create a quiet, dark room free from distractions. Soothing music is fine, but anything that will draw your attention isn’t ideal.

Is your mattress comfortable? A small investment in a good quality bed can make all the difference.

  • Be mindful of what you’ve put in your body.

Caffeine and alcohol are well-known inhibitors of a good night’s sleep. Going to bed hungry can also interrupt your night’s sleep – if you’re wondering how to sleep better at night consider having a light snack before trying to rest. Just don’t devour an entire pizza!

  • Be mindful of the thoughts in your head.

Make a conscious effort to dwell on peace – and peaceful thoughts. There are many verses in the Bible that can inspire your inner peace, but you also might have a book that brings you a sense of calm and serenity.

Affirmations are also a powerful tool for settling your mind so your body can rest.

  • Write your own story.

If you can’t find something to read that settles your soul, write your own perfect story. Spend some time imagining your ‘perfect’ day – be bold and optimistic.

I tell people during my coaching sessions to keep this story at their bedside and review it if they’re having a hard time feeling settled. It really will help you sleep better at night.

And, feel free to revisit the story, revise it, expand it. This is your story, keep writing it…

  • Don’t try to sleep.

That’s right, don’t try too hard to sleep.

You’re wide awake and your brain isn’t letting you settle, maybe you’re dwelling on something that didn’t go very well in your day. So, get up and find a quiet task..

Make a cup of tea, pray, meditate, don’t toss and turn in bed feeling frustrated.

Your bed should be a place of comfort. If it isn’t, remove yourself and reset your mind.

  • Just breathe.

Relax and “bore” yourself to sleep. We all know the old adage of counting sheep…

I often suggest to my coaching clients that they count their breaths. Be deliberate and make an effort to slow down your breathing.

Be sure that you’re in a comfortable position and then let your body and mind settle into a slow pattern of breathing…and if all else fails…

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for remedies.

I’m always hesitant to prescribe the ‘big guns’ in my practice or to suggest them in my coaching sessions.

But, if an herbal tea like Chamomile, Sleepy Time or Tension Tamer isn’t giving you the peace you need to settle your mind and body, be sure to consult your physician to find a bridge to better sleep. There are short-term remedies that can get you settled again.

It’s natural to experience times of stress in your personal and professional life. A restful sleep can help you to remain resilient in the face of challenges.

By following these simple steps you can sleep better and tackle the daily challenges with a clear mind.

Do you have daily practices on how to sleep better? I would love to hear from you.

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