If you take a look at vet techs on social media you will see nearly all of them talking about being exhausted and stressed out . . . and wanting more sleep.
Improving quality of sleep can help improve quality of life across a huge range of issues: stress levels reduce, improved mood/state of mind, energy levels, immune system function, avoiding colds and illnesses, better job performance, etc.
Here are 15 sleep hacks you can do to improve your sleep.
Temperature and Humidity – Check the temperature in your bedroom. Your quality of sleep may be poor because it is not warm or cool enough. Most people need a slightly cool room for good sleep. Others prefer a warm room. Figure out what works best for you, and adjust the thermostat. If electric or gas bills for heating/cooling are a concern, check your windows and door frames to see if they are leaking or letting in external temperature conditions; if they are not sealed well, Google “how to home made window sealing door sealing.”
Light Conditions – If your bedroom window doesn’t have blackout curtains or blinds, consider getting some or make your own. Even something as simple as taping cut up pieces of a cardboard box over the window panes to block out all light can work. Whatever you use, make your sleeping space as dark as possible so that your circadian rhythm won’t be triggered to wake you up if you’re trying to sleep in in the morning, or nap during the day. If you can’t find a way to block light coming in from your window, maybe try a sleep mask for your eyes.
White Noise – If your neighbors are noisy when you’re trying to sleep, or you live in an area with a lot of external noise (traffic, people out late at night, etc.) consider getting a white noise mp3 file and playing it on a small speaker in your bedroom. Some people like to listen to rain fall sounds, nature sounds, meditation music, and other different types of audio. Find one that works for you, and set it up.
Take a Hot Shower or Bath – Vet techs are usually stressed, and this energy is embedded in our bodies. Taking a hot bath or shower will ease some of that tension, and help muscles to relax. Add bath salts, a bath bomb, to your water. Play relaxing music while you bathe.
Add Extra Layers of Blankets – For some/many people, an extra layer of blankets adds a soothing weight that makes you feel more secure and relaxed. You can usually find near new quality blankets at Thrift stores for low prices.
Freshly Washed Sheets – Try to wash your sheets once a week if possible. The smell and texture will help you fall asleep and be more comfortable.
Try to Avoid Eating and Drinking Before Bed – Your body will not want you go to go sleep because it needs to digest the food and drink. Check out this article for more detailed foods, drinks, and other things like caffeine that you should avoid before sleep.
Try to Time Your Caffeine Intake so That It’s Out of Your System by Bed Time – If you’re wired on caffeine . . . yeah, obvious statement: you won’t be able to fall asleep. Seems obvious, but many of us forget or stop caring about how caffeine will kill our quality of sleep. Figure out how many hours before your bed time you need to get caffeine out of your system and make a cut off time for your last cup of coffee or whatever you consume for energy.
Add More Pillows – Some people don’t realize that they have sleep apnea or poor quality sleep due to snoring and breathing issues. Elevating your upper body may help you breathe more easily. There are different types of sleep apnea, and causes, that you should check out if you think you might have this issue.
Sleeping with Your Fur-Babies – While I love my booboos, they do wake me up and cause disruptions and damage to my quality of sleep. If it’s possible, try sleeping without them on your bed, beside you, or on top of you. It may take several weeks of re-training to get them used to a new sleeping room or place, but if it improves your quality of sleep it might be worth the effort.
Sleeping with a Significant Other Who Snores or Disrupts Your Sleep – Some couples may not be compatible in terms of sleeping behavior. If your significant other snores loudly, moves around a lot during the night (waking you), or has other sleep behaviors that disturb your sleep . . . you may need to figure out alternative sleeping arrangements. This can mean several things: sleeping in different rooms (snoring), sleeping in separate beds, etc. If you love snuggling before sleep, you can still do that–just make sure one of you understands that they have to move to another bed or room at some point.
Eat and Drink Healthy – If you are eating high sugar, high processed foods within 3-4 hours of your bed time, or even less time, you are setting your body up for poor quality sleep. There ARE foods that can help you sleep well. This article also has a good list.
Sex – But Only if it Helps You Fall Asleep – Some people fall asleep more easily, and sleep better, after they have sex . . . whereas others are energized by it. Figure out which type of person you are, and then act accordingly. If you’re single, that doesn’t mean you can’t engage in ‘solo activities’–wink, wink. 🙂
Avoid Using Smartphone in Bed – The light from your phone screen triggers your brain’s chemistry to not enter sleep-friendly conditions. Social media content is designed to constantly trigger your interest with a never-ending flood of materials. Games also stimulate your mind and excite your body. If you ‘must’ use your phone, go into the settings and make your screen light for ‘nighttime’ color temperature and brightness; this will help a little to reduce the degree of stimulation to your eyes and brain.
Follow a Before Bed Routine – Making a routine before bed can help train your brain and body to enter sleep-friendly states.
If you like what you’re reading on this blog, please check out my book, So You Wanna Be a Vet Tech.