Sweet Dreams: Developing Good Sleep Hygiene

Meredith on April 28, 2014

I like staying busy and having multiple projects on the go, both at work and in my personal life. Having projects and events to plan and organize is both fun and challenging for me. At the moment I have so many projects on the go that I sometimes feel like a circus performer juggling numerous balls in the air (all successfully I might add!!).  Unfortunately, something I have noticed in the midst of all this busy-ness is that for the past few weeks, I haven’t been sleeping very well. By the end of any given day, I often feel like I have so many different tasks and to-do’s running through my head that when I close my eyes at night I literally dream of my to-do lists. 

Over the recent long weekend, I started thinking about why I wasn’t sleeping well and what might be different from other times when I have juggled a busy schedule and numerous projects. What I realized was that although I was making time to exercise, eat well, relax and have fun, I was completely neglecting to give myself enough time at the end of each day to shift from ‘go-mode’ to ‘sleep-mode’.  In the past I would help signal to my body and mind that it was soon time to go to sleep by turning off my computer or TV, reading a book, having a warm cup of herbal tea, and maybe even enjoying some relaxing music about an hour before bedtime. But recently I’ve been cramming so much project planning into my evenings that I find myself still glued to the internet doing research straight up until the moment before I crawl into bed.  Not a great strategy for a good night’s sleep!!

So this week I have made a conscious effort to stick to a bedtime routine that I know works for me. In addition to shutting down bright screens/electronics and doing a quiet activity before bed, I also find that writing out my to-do’s and things to remember before heading to bed allows me to prevent that laundry list of things to do from creeping into my dreams!  Sticking with my bedtime routine also helps make sure I get to bed at the same time every night, which is an important aspect of good sleep hygiene. So far, my new routine is working out well and I have been sleeping well since the long weekend.

I know many adults and children also struggle to get a good night’s sleep. If your child is having trouble with sleep, I would recommend checking out the Kelty Centre’s Interactive Bedtime Routine, a really fun resource that allows kids to customize their own bedtime routine, as well as the many helpful sleep tips in the Healthy Living Toolkit for Families.

Developing good sleep hygiene (sleep habits) is the first step to getting a good night’s sleep! Sweet dreams everyone!


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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

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RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

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Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.