Creating a Sleep Routine

Creating a Sleep Routine

A sleep routine can be hard to stick to. This routine can be particularly hard if you sleep in different locations, work night or late shifts, have a disability or struggle to switch off from the stress of the day.

I have always had trouble sleeping either due to nightmares, anxiety and extreme expectations to perform well in my studies. It was only after I became unwell I started to value how important is sleep to my functioning during the day.

But a sleep routine is not just the 10 minutes before you go to bed. It requires looking at the activities you do during the day, that might be keeping you awake at night.

I have broken this down into my AM and PM routines. This routine helps for my depression, anxiety, back pain and BPD.

AM

  • A waking time: Set a time you must be out of bed by – if you miss that time, try getting up in the next 30 minutes. My time is 8.30am. Click here to see how I graded this goal.
  • Regular exercise: Exercise regularly has been found to have a positive effect on sleep performance and mood [5]. Increase level of aerobic exercise such as walking, stationary bicycle, or treadmill was found to improve an individual’s sleep quality, sleep duration and sleep efficiency [5]. It is recommended to do aerobic exercise for 30-40 minutes each time and 4 times per week for optimized result [5]. If you are just starting to think about exercise start slow. After hurting my back I started slowly with 10minutes and gradually increased the duration of this to 20 minutes.
  • A goal could be to start with 10 minutes for the first week with gradually adding 5 minutes in the next week if you feel up to it
  • Reduce napping: Although a daytime nap of less than 30 minutes promotes wakefulness and increases learning ability and performance, a longer nap is linked with poor sleep quality and decrease in productivity.[1]

PM

Regular sleep schedule

  1. Regular sleep schedule

Study has shown that irregular bedtime schedule was likely leading to poor sleep quality and decrease in sleep time as it disturbed the circadian system [9]. It is suggested that having a regular bedtime schedule can strengthen circadian rhythm and therefore improve sleep performance, which can be achieved by having a consistent pattern of sleep and wake [9].

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