Sleep Problems and Pre-Sleep Arousal, The Research Life. - Deepstash
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Sleep Better By Lowering Pre-Sleep Arousal

Sleep Better By Lowering Pre-Sleep Arousal

Anything that is done before bed that is mentally or physically stimulating could induce pre-sleep arousal and disrupt sleep. Activities like working late on difficult problems or engaging in arguments might lead to lingering thoughts during the night.


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How is pre-sleep arousal defined?

How is pre-sleep arousal defined?

Pre-sleep arousal can be cognitive or somatic.

  • Cognitive pre-sleep arousal involves excessive thinking when trying to go to sleep. For example, replaying events of the waking day such as a heated argument or mistake at work could be classified as cognitive pre-sleep arousal. 
  • Somatic or bodily pre-sleep arousal is any physical agitation within the body before bed. This could involve feeling muscle tension or jitteriness before sleep. Intense physical activity, like running or heavy weight lifting, might interfere with sleep if it is done too close before going to bed. 


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Reduce Pre-Sleep Arousal By Avoiding These Activities

Reduce Pre-Sleep Arousal By Avoiding These Activities

The following behaviors might increase pre-sleep arousal and disrupt sleep. These activities should be avoided 1-2 hours before bedtime:

  • Engaging with social media (e.g., scrolling Twitter, TikTok, Facebook) 
  • Consuming stimulating or upsetting content before bed. This could include news articles, exciting TV shows, or engaging books. 
  • Arguing with others or debating serious topics 
  • Paying bills or manage finances near bedtime that may cause stress
  • Exercising intensely (e.g., weight lifting, running)


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Calm yourself before bed with these activities

Calm yourself before bed with these activities

There are several activities that can aid in feeling more calm before bed. Some examples to consider are listed below:

  • Meditation
  • Gentle exercise (e.g. light stretching or yoga)
  • Reading a relaxing article or physical copy of a book (to avoid light from devices that may interfere with sleep)
  • Talking with loved ones


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The Importance Of A Sleep Routine

The Importance Of A Sleep Routine

Having a consistent sleep schedule and calming routine may help with getting to sleep quicker and staying asleep throughout the night. We should avoid working on engaging or stressful tasks near bedtime to go to bed in a relaxed state. Consistent, high quality sleep is worth the time investment. 


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I am an academic sleep researcher, healthy sleep advocate, and writer. #sleephealth #sleepguide #sleepingtips


Allowing ourselves some time to calm down before bed is important to getting high quality sleep. I outline some reasons why below.


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