By Karen Palmer
For more restful sleep with IBD, young woman sleeping in bed with mask

Feeling rested can improve your overall mood, level of productivity, and quality of life. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep is a common trigger for IBD flare-ups—and not getting deep enough sleep can cause all sorts of health and wellness issues. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to get more and better quality z’s.

1. Switch off your screens.

We know how much you love your smartphone, laptop, tablet, and TV (hello, Netflix!), but scientists widely agree that the bluish light they emit confuses the brain and disrupts our internal clock, or circadian rhythms, which tell us when to sleep and when to wake up. Sleep researchers at Harvard have found that blue light reduces melatonin secretion (which influences circadian rhythms). Another recent sleep study conducted in Israel found that participants who viewed blue screens before bed got less sleep and woke up more frequently during the night than those who didn’t. Want to avoid these pitfalls? Shut off those screens 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-friendly haven.

Little bedroom improvements like reducing clutter can help put your mind at ease the second you walk into the room and prepare your body to get some z’s. Plus, simple changes like keeping the room cool, making sure it’s dark, and keeping noise at a minimum can help you sleep longer and more soundly.

For better sleep, a young woman with inflammatory bowel disease uses hot water bottle to relieve abdominal pain

3. Make a hot water bottle your new best friend.

Hot water bottles have been used for eons to help with insomnia. Using one can help relax your muscles, soothe pain (including joint pain), and even keep middle-of-the-night hunger pangs at bay. If you’re having a flare-up, a thermostatic hot water bottle placed wherever you’re experiencing discomfort might help to ease you back into a restful state.

4. Keep your bedtime consistent.

What works for babies works for adults too: putting yourself on a sleep schedule, that is. Research has shown that going to bed and waking up at the same time helps your body know when it’s time to sleep, making it easier to drift off.

5. Cool your brain.

Sleep researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that cooling the frontal cortex of the brain can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. They used a cooling cap in their studies, but Laura Koniver, MD says you can get the same benefits by placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead when you go to bed. How easy is that?

We hope these simple lifestyle tweaks will help you tune out, doze off, and get a great night’s sleep!

Oshi is a tracking tool and content resource. It does not render medical advice or services, and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should always review this information with your healthcare professionals.