There are some important things you can do (and NOT do) while in bed to promote good sleep. Let’s jump right in.
Number One: Go to the bathroom right before laying down.
Okay, while not technically in bed (or at least I hope not).
You don’t want to wake up in the night to have to pee. After your bladder is empty, lie down in bed. There's not much else I have to say on this one.
Number Two: No pets on the bed!
Their moving around can wake you. Even if they do not move all night, they restrict you from moving freely, and can make it so you don’t sleep as deeply.
But Jason, you say, Mittens always sleeps with me. I neeeeeed him there. No you don’t. Start training him to sleep off of your bed, or better yet, out of your room. In the future, I’ll go in to detail about how to do this with stubborn pets. For now, just google it. I’m sure there’ll be something.
Number Three: Do not watch TV, play on your phone or computer, do homework, read, etc in bed.
While these are all enjoyable activities, doing them in bed will hurt your sleep.
Your brain will associate repetitive activities with objects and actions. If you regularly watch TV in bed, then when you are in bed, your brain is prepared to either watch TV or sleep. If you want to sleep, and your brain wants to watch TV, you will have difficulty falling asleep.
Remember the Opening Monologue Effect? (If not, see the post on Bedtime Routine here). Same thing. Your brain is being trained to associate your bed with whatever happens in it.
I had a friend in college who would always do her homework in bed. Homework is hardly ever restful. She always complained to me about not being able to sleep. Of course she couldn't sleep! Her brain was ready for schoolwork. Sadly, she never listened to me when i told her to stop doing homework in bed. But I hope that you do listen to this advice.
Number 3A: The only other thing besides sleep that should be happening in your bed is sex.
Yes sex. When you have an orgasm, a chemical is released in your brain that promotes sleep naturally. That being said, you could have sex with a partner, or all by yourself. Either way, with that orgasm come sleepiness.
Just don’t abuse this. “Well honey, I have a big meeting in the morning, and I need to be well rested, so…” *wink wink, nudge nudge.*
Number Four: If you can’t sleep, get up.
If you are in bed for more than 20 minutes, just staring at the ceiling, trying to fall asleep, get up. Remember, we want our brains to associate the bed with sleep, not with being awake. So get up and do something until you feel tired, then try again.
I wouldn’t recommend turning on the TV or computer either. Try something low key that doesn’t involve a screen (see the post on Light Vs Sleep. The link is here). Once you start feeling tired again, go back to your bed and try again.
Until next time: Happy Zzz's...