How much sleep do I need?
This actually varies from person to person and also depends on the phase of life you are in. For most people, 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night is enough to feel refreshed. But there are also many people who can get by in just 5 hours, or who need 10 hours of sleep to feel rested. As we get older, we often need less sleep.
Factors that can influence your sleep
There are many things that influence our sleep. Even when we are asleep, we can perceive pain, brightness, and sounds because our consciousness is still active to some extent. In addition to these things, experiences and stresses from everyday life can also reduce our sleep quality and lead to difficulties in both falling asleep and staying asleep. Do you know that you lie down in the evening completely exhausted and only want to sleep, but suddenly your thoughts are on a roller coaster, you just can't switch off and sometimes lie awake for hours? Or maybe you manage to fall asleep right away, but you wake up all the time and feel very restless inside? Then you can look forward to a few suggestions here, which will hopefully help you to a relaxed sleep. If these tips don't help you, and you have the impression that other issues are keeping you awake, then it can also be helpful to talk to our experts at WePractice and take a closer look at the issues together.
The following suggestions are part of the so-called sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene includes all measures, rituals and habits that are conducive to restful sleep. If you suffer from sleep difficulties, then consistently following these suggestions can help you find more restful sleep.
8 Suggestions for Better Sleep:
Create a sleeping space that makes you feel really comfortable. Is the mattress comfortable and the comforter warm enough? Is the lying position right? Is it neither too hot nor too cold? A temperature of about 18 degrees is ideal in the bedroom. It is also important to use the sleeping area only for sleeping and not to read, watch movies, or the like in bed during the day. And the cell phone is not exactly conducive to falling asleep either. The bright light of smartphones, like daylight, activates the release of serotonin, which makes us feel alert. So either turn on the night mode on your cell phone, or it's best not to take it to bed at all.
Relatively constant sleeping and rising times are important because our body and psyche adjust to the rhythm. An evening bedtime ritual can also help, as it gives the body and mind time to wind down and become calmer. For example, try drinking a cup of tea in the evening and listening to relaxing music.
If you sleep during the day, try to skip it. A power nap of 10 to 20 minutes at the most is fine. A longer daytime nap makes it harder to fall asleep in the evening.
Nutrition also has an influence on the quality of sleep. It is advisable to avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy food in the evening. Although one often has the impression that a glass of wine helps to fall asleep, it worsens the quality of sleep. Large meals in the evening keep the body busy digesting, which makes sleep more restless. Caffeine takes a long time to be broken down in the body. Therefore, it is advisable not to consume caffeine from early afternoon.
Physical activity during the day can help you fall asleep. However, it is important to stop exercising at least two hours before going to bed, as exercise has an activating effect, similar to caffeine.
Do not go to bed until you are really tired. If you lie awake in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up again, leave the bedroom and do something pleasant and quiet, e.g. read a book. Go back to bed only when you feel tired. If you still can't sleep, repeat the whole procedure.
Do not look at the clock at night. Looking at the clock often causes stress. "Now I'm still not asleep" or "Boah, I've been lying awake since 4 a.m. and in an hour I have to get up again" can be stressful thoughts that prevent you from falling asleep again and put pressure on you. It's best to turn your alarm clock away from you to break this cycle.
If mind circles are keeping you awake, you might try putting a notepad next to the bed and writing down any distressing thoughts. Whether it's to-dos, fears, worries, or other thoughts that keep you awake, writing them down can help get them out of your head. If writing down isn't your thing, you can also try distracting yourself. Think about your last beach vacation, count the classic sheep, or focus on your inhales and exhales. The important thing is to get out of the pressure that often accompanies poor sleep. Thoughts like "If I don't fall asleep now, I won't be able to get anything done tomorrow" often crop up and make it even harder to fall asleep. Distraction can help. It can also help you relax if you realize that there are good nights and bad nights. So there will be good nights again!
Here is a small breathing exercise: Are you lying comfortably in bed? Then close your eyes and put your hand on your belly. Concentrate on how you breathe in and out. Feel with your hand how your abdominal wall rises and falls. Now associate the word let go with breathing and say (aloud or in your mind) "let go" with each inhalation and "let" with each exhalation. Repeat this with each inhalation and exhalation. In ("let go") and out ("let go"). Do you already notice how you become calmer?
Since there is no ultimate strategy for restful sleep, I would recommend that you simply try out which of the suggestions are helpful for you. Don't give up too soon, because breaking the old habits takes some time. If, despite everything, you continue to suffer from sleep problems, it is advisable to seek medical or psychotherapeutic advice, depending on the cause of your sleep problems. We at WePractice are happy to support you on this path. Our therapists are specialized in the treatment of sleep disorders and can support you on the way to improving your sleep quality thanks to the right therapy methods.
You can find an overview of our therapists in our directory