Tag Archives: sleep hygiene

The Mental Health Bedroom: Making Your Room a Sanctuary

How to make your room a sanctuary.

Sleep-only zone
Studies have shown that if you engage in a number of activities in your bedroom, you will come to think of your room as a place of activity and even stress rather than one of relaxation and peacefulness. So, out go the exercise equipment, office set-up, computer, textbooks, television, snacks and that mound of clothes you’ve been meaning to launder. Of course, there are exceptions to the sleeping-only rule. These are reading, dressing, relaxing to music, and of course, intimacy.

Your brain is actually calmed by the sight of an empty or well-organized table top or dresser top. Decluttering at night, before bed, will keep your room feeling less like a busy traffic lane, and more like a private oasis.

Out of mind
Closed storage can be anything from a dresser or armoire with doors, to simple baskets or boxes. The idea is to put out of sight all those items that used to live on the top of your nightstand or dresser. It’s a good idea to have a small tray or drawer to corral the keys and pens and change that you might empty out of your pockets when you get home, but everything else should be put away, out of sight. You’ll feel instantly more relaxed when you put “Out of sight, out of mind” to work in your bedroom. If you have something that needs to be done, like a bill or email, do it in another part of the house. Your bedroom should be for relaxing and resting only, not working.

Have a seat
If you have room, it’s a great idea to have an extra chair or bench in your bedroom. It just feels more homey when you can carve out a little bit of sitting area, such as a reading corner by a window or lamp.

Cool down your bedroom
Try to crank up the air conditioning a little more at night before bed. Cooling down your body actually mimics sleep and promotes sleepiness.

White noise machines
Noise can also affect your sleep in a negative way. When you hear sounds, your brain tries to actively process them, which can cause problems when you’re trying to fall asleep. While noise affects everyone differently—some are more sensitive to it than others—it’s still important to create a quiet environment as possible for a good night’s sleep.

Write a single sentence
Simply write one sentence in a journal that you keep by your bedside, every night. It helps you reflect on the day, consider your word choice, and summarize your thoughts. It’s a powerful way to close the day.

Add some greenery
Add greenery to your room but if you don’t want to add the stress of keeping it alive, choose one of the low-maintenance, hard-to-kill indoor plants, such as English Ivy or a Snake Plant.

Soft music
Music does wonders to set the mood. In the case of your bedroom, your objective is to create a peaceful, relaxing mood, so choose your music accordingly. Whether you prefer soft jazz, classical, world, or trip hop, keep the beat and the sound soft and calm. Keep the volume low. Set the music to shut off automatically after a certain amount of time, because even though the soft sounds may lull you to sleep, they are likely to wake you during the night.

Your sense of smell is a very powerful thing. It is our only sense that goes directly into our brains. Smells enter our nostrils and up the olfactory nerve onto the surface of our brain. Integrating essential oils like lavender and chamomile into your bedtime routine can work wonders at keeping your mind calm and centered. These scents can also get the brain to release the hormone melatonin. When that hormone is released, it washes over the brain and uses it as a signal to shut down all those distracting thoughts and just go to sleep.

Listening to podcasts is a great way to lull yourself to sleep without the intrusive glare of television, telephone, laptop, or tablet screens. Find some podcasts that are soothing to you.

Relaxation apps
The Calm App (Android and Apple) has sleep meditations, breathing exercises, bedtime stories, and white noise to promote sleep and relaxation.

Yoga Nidra
This is an ancient breath work tradition used to battle insomnia and facilitate deep rest. https://www.yoganidranetwork.org/downloads

For more tips check out, Making Sleep Your Best Friend. 

The Small Things That Are Huge

  • Telling people that you can’t take on any more tasks.
  • Allowing yourself to sleep when you are tired. (See also Making Sleep Your Best Friend)
  • Spending your time with people who get you.
  • Respecting your limitations and boundaries.
  • Being honest. With you and others.
  • Walking your talk.
  • Asking for help.
  • Enjoying your leisure time.
  • Throwing away guilt.
  • Speaking about your expectations in relationships.
  • Recognizing red flags. This is intuition, an ancient trait.
  • Not arguing with people about your values.
  • Stepping away when angry, instead of engaging in that moment.
  • Allowing yourself to be loved and supported by others.
  • Forgiving yourself.
Embolden Psychology

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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