Sleep is Essential to Mental Health and Recovery
In our last blog entry, we offered up some tips for getting a good night’s sleep. We focused on things you can do in the evening to set yourself up for a restful night—including establishing a good nighttime routine, ensuring your sleep environment is conducive to resting and swapping out screen time for quiet, restful activities before bed.
But nighttime is not the only time you can make good choices to support your sleep. There are plenty of things you can do during the day that can make the nighttime more restful.
Remember, the reason we are focused on sleep is because getting enough rest supports both your mental health and your recovery from a substance use disorder. While our society seems to value busyness over restfulness, sleep is essential to our well-being.
Let’s take a look at what you can be doing during the day to help make sure you have a good night.
Support Your Night By Doing Daytime Right
You may already have a good sense of the sorts of things we might suggest here. Still, we’re willing to bet that you will be surprised by some of these suggestions, too. Here’s our list of daytime tips for supporting your sleep.
- Keep control of the caffeine. Listen, we get it. You may feel like you need that first (and possibly second or third) cup of coffee to get going in the morning. Maybe you rely on an energy drink or a highly caffeinated soda to get through the mid-afternoon slump. Certainly, you are not alone in relying on caffeine to carry you through the day. But your caffeine consumption can carry over into the nighttime—making it harder for you to get to sleep and making it more likely you will need a jolt of caffeine again in the morning. It can be a vicious cycle, but you can break it if you reduce the amount of caffeine, you consume and limit your consumption too early in the day. Switch to decaf (or herbal tea or water) in the afternoon.
- Get out and see the light. At nighttime, darkness is a good thing for supporting sleep. But during the day, you want to be sure to get out in the light. Sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythms, which are important for getting your body and brain primed for sleep on a regular schedule. If you just can’t get outside, letting a lot of natural light into your home and/or workspace can also be a helpful approach. You might also consider an artificial light designed to mimic sunlight that you can use each day.
- Make good eating choices—especially at night. You probably already know that there are foods you should avoid in the hours just before bedtime. As a rule, spicy, fatty, heavy, or fried foods are not especially conducive for helping you drift off. But you may not have known that a complex carbohydrate eaten with some milk, yogurt, or low-fat cheese can, in fact, make it easier to go to sleep. So, as it gets later in the day, think carefully about your food choices.
- Get some exercise. Exercise is, of course, good for you in many ways, supporting both your physical and mental health. And when it comes to helping you get the rest you need, exercise can play a key role in reducing the amount of time it takes a person to fall asleep once they have gone to bed.
- Say no to lengthy naps—and to sleeping in on the weekend. Everybody enjoys a nap from time to time. And sleeping in on a lazy weekend day can be one of life’s true pleasures. But to help ensure you get quality sleep night in and night out, it is a good idea to avoid napping or sleeping in too regularly. Both habits can upend your normal sleep cycle and cost you much-needed rest in the long run.
Don’t Sleep on Our Nighttime Tips
Just a reminder: Our previous blog entry provided a list of tips to try once the sun goes down to improve the overall quality of your sleep. By combining these daytime tips with our nighttime advice, you’ll be strengthening your mental health and protecting your hard-won sobriety.
You Won’t Catch Us Napping When It Comes to Your Sobriety
At Farley Center, we have the compassion, expertise, and experience necessary to help you reclaim and maintain your sobriety. And we can also address any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be affecting your life—including your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
If you need help, don’t let another day and night pass by. We’re ready to help right now.