- Create a sleep routine that winds you down. Perhaps it includes a bath, a cup of calming tea, reading, a relaxing yoga sequence, snuggling or journaling. Whatever helps you relax, that’s what you should do for at least 30 minutes before bed. You should not use any electronic devices within at least 30 minutes of bedtime.
- Minimize distractions in case you wake. Having the phone right next to your bed makes it really easy to “just to do X, quickly”. We know that browsing social media or checking your email can quickly lead to a lot of time being drained. By placing your device across the room, it’s easier to leave it alone and stay away from sleep distractions.
- Create “Mind Space” before going to bed. Before you go to bed, grab a journal or paper and get everything you’re thinking about and all of your “to dos” out of your head and onto the paper. By putting it on the paper, it’s safe there to help us remember tomorrow so we can let go of it for tonight. Keep the paper next to your bed for any ideas or “to dos” that come up in the middle of the night that you’re stuck on.
- Take care of your body by exercising and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Focusing on your physical body by exercising during the day (at least three hours before bed) and avoiding caffeine and alcohol all contribute to better sleep. If you get the afternoon slump and use caffeine to help you, try going for a walk instead or reaching for a soda- it will help energize you and will help you sleep better at night. Also, science shows we are more productive when we take breaks (seems counterproductive, but it’s true).
- Use the Headspace App. This app literally has changed my sleep habits. This app is free to educators and has AMAZING sleep SOS practices for you to use when you can’t fall asleep or, if you’re like me, wake up at 2am and can’t fall back asleep.
To access Headspace for free, go to www.headspace.com/educators, find your state and district and create an account using your SCHOOL DISTRICT email for verification purposes (it won’t work if you use your personal email). You may then download the app onto your device and login with your new account info.