A good sleep routine is essential for health and wellbeing. Without proper sleep, our ability to perform in all areas of life is negatively affected. For example, insufficient sleep can lead to decreased work productivity, increased motor vehicle crashes, hypertension, diabetes, depression, cancer and early mortality. Occupational therapists help patients get a better nights sleep and may incorporate the following principle into occupational therapy practice:
Health: Physical and mental health-related factors can impact you from getting a good night's sleep. It is crucial to speak to your physician or therapist and let them know you are having difficulty sleeping. Medication use can also affect you from sleeping correctly. Ask your pharmacist if any medications interfere with your sleep.
Environment: It is essential to associate your bedroom with sleep. Try and remove any devices from the room that can distract or keep you awake at night. For example, if you have a television in your bedroom, check to see if it has a blue light filter setting. Turning this on can help with sleep as blue light suppresses melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps you sleep at night. Noise and room temperature are also important factors to consider for proper sleep.
Attitude/Mood: Try using relaxation techniques when preparing your body and mind for sleep. For example, you could play calming sounds or music. Alternatively, some excellent apps, such as Headspace, can help reduce stress and anxiety before going to bed.
Lifestyle: Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can improve the quality of your sleep. Avoid foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee and chocolate, late in the day as they can impact your sleep. Exercising earlier on in the day and regularly can also help you get a better night's sleep.
Reference: "How to Sleep Better." Mental Health Foundation, 18 Jan. 2016, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better.