Positive Coping Post #6: Better Sleep! March 31, 2020 Sleep is an important part of being able to cope with the regular challenges of the day. Sleep is as important as a healthy diet and exercise. Here are some helpful tips to jumpstart your circadian rhythm: Establish a routine Even if there is no reason to get up or go to bed at your usual time each day and maintain consistency. Spend time in the sunlight or use a lightbox (of 5,000 lux or higher) each day. Bright light helps to align healthy sleep-wake cycles. Exercise early in the day and as much as possible keep a normal routine throughout the day. Get some exercise, eat sensibly, do not drink too much alcohol, and avoid caffeine close to bed. Reserve your bedroom for sleep. If you go to bed and find that you cannot get to sleep, get up and do something relaxing in dim light that is quiet and away from the bedroom. Go back to bed when you feel ready to fall asleep. Put clocks out of sight once you’re tucked in. Do not believe in the myth of the nightcap. Alcohol before bed might make you sleepy initially but, once you metabolize it two to three hours later, it stimulates arousal in the brain that makes you wake up. Adopt a caffeine curfew. Even having caffeine six hours before bed can cause a measurable loss in sleep quality so keep an eye on when you should cut off caffeine consumption Wind down before bed Try relaxation exercises just before bed. Keep the lights dim and avoid anything that involves the outside world. That means social media, news reports and emails. Read a book. Take a relaxing bath. Listen to music you enjoy or a soothing podcast.