10 Tips for a good night's sleep!
How would you describe your sleep pattern?
"I get 8 hours every night!" (don't bother reading any further!! - unless you know someone who has trouble!)
"I fall asleep easily, but wake up several times during the night."
"I struggle to fall to sleep, but when I do I get a good few hours."
"I get a few hours to start, but wake up very early and can't get back to sleep."
So many variants, even more than I've mentioned, but these are probably the most common ones. I'm going to talk about things that may help you. No doubt you've heard about most of them, but if you are thinking about making changes, do so a little at a time - don't put extra pressure on yourself to do everything all at once! One step at a time and see if it helps.
Lack of sleep can have an impact on your overall physical health and emotional wellbeing, certainly if it becomes a long term issue. If you recognise your sleep pattern has changed, do something about it, don't keep thinking 'it'll be better tomorrow night'! Hormonal changes you may be going through, a stressful time in your work/life, upset to your normal routine like during a Pandemic, having a new baby, someone close to you passing away, a family member leaving home and anxiety, these can all impact the way you sleep.
1) Make your room dark - when it's dark your body releases Melatonin and this is what relaxes you and your body helping you prepare for bed and drift off to sleep. Keeping the light pollution in your room to a minimum can be key, even a basic thing like a small digital clock can have an impact - cover all electronic gadgets that give out light. (I put a sock over my alarm clock light!!)
2) Make sure your room is not too warm - having a cool room is helpful, even having a small window slightly open can keep the temperature down. (I keep my radiator on a low setting and the heating in the whole house is turned off from 9.30pm and comes back on at 7.00am) But also, don't have it too cold!
3) Sort your bed out - could it be your mattress or pillow that is causing you disturbed sleep? Has your favourite pillow become a bit soft or lumpy, are you waking up with a stiff neck or shoulder? How about your mattress? Does it still support you the way it did when you bought it? Are your joints feeling achy when you wake up? All things to consider! Have you thought about weighted blankets? So much information on the internet about them.....they can help calm a restless body and even reduce feelings of anxiety, as always everyone is unique, do your research before investing.
4) Create a room that makes you feel calm - surrounding yourself with the things you love, family photos, beautiful calming scents, candles, cosy blankets, favourite colours and artwork. When you open the door does it entice you in, does it instantly calm you? Taking a few deep breaths as you enter will send the intention to your mind and body that it's time to relax.
5) Remove all tech from your room, declutter your space, make it tidy!
6) Time away from electronics - having time away from gadgets at least half an hour before bed allows your mind to begin to settle - turn your phone off, leave it downstairs - do you actually need it in your room? If it's your alarm, be disciplined into just having it for that - better still buy an alarm clock and leave your phone downstairs - this way you're not tempted to look at it before you go to sleep, in the middle of the night if you wake or again first thing in the morning!!
7) Giving yourself time to switch off before bed - after you've turned off all your gadgets!
How would you describe your relaxation time before bed?
A. Spending time on your skincare routine, nurturing yourself, massaging in some lovely body lotion after an evening bath/shower and treating yourself to a facial massage gives your mind a distraction.
B. Do you love to have half an hour with a good book?
C. A gentle Yoga stretching session can help slow down your mind.
D. Meditation/mindfulness is great before bed - allowing you to process your thoughts.
Listening to guided meditations or even some calming music can switch your mind away from your busy thoughts.
E. Writing in a journal is a good way to get your thoughts onto paper and out of your head, be it how you're feeling, what you've been up to, what plans you've got for the future, it can also be a good way of recording your sleep patterns/food diaries/exercise - to help you see if any of those are linked to how you sleep.
8) Getting regular daily exercise - whether high impact/energy or just a stroll around your local area, any form of exercise is good for you, outdoors, even better! It helps to release tension and stress from your body and mind, making it beneficial for your mental/emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health - try and keep the exercise for earlier on in your day as it can have the effect of energising you!
9) Routine is key - get into good habits, making bedtime the same time everyday and waking up at the same time too - trying hard not to deviate, even at weekends!! We all thrive on having routines, something so many of us have struggled with over the last 12 months.
10) What food/drink to try and avoid - caffeine, cheese, spicy food, alcohol, sugar - keeping a food diary or just noting it down in your journal will help you identify the food/drink that affects your sleep pattern. Have you tried researching what foods could help you sleep?
If you're thinking of adding supplements into your day, there are so many recommended to help with sleep - do seek out a professional or visit your local health food shop for some personal advice and guidance. (The Good Life Health Foods shop in Wetherby is a great place)
Here's a few links to some self help products from Neal's Yard Remedies:
Pillow Mist Spray - £15
Night Time Tea - £4
Frankincense Facial Oil - £32
Beauty Sleep Body Lotion - £22
Aromatherapy Blend Night Time - £15.50
Diffusers - from £38
Candles - £32
Handmade by me, beautifully weighted Eye Pillow (£10) - can help calm twitchy eyes!
Hoping this has given you some ideas to get started - if however you have been suffering from sleep problems for a long time, I would suggest you seek help from a Health Professional.
Thanks for taking the time to read this Blog post.