10 Tips For Better Sleep
As I’m sure you may be aware, getting a poor night’s sleep is an unpleasant experience and can cause tiredness and a lower mood the next day. Whilst one or two night’s disturbed sleep is unlikely to have too much impact upon us, if sleep deprivation continues it can cause a host of problems and daily life can feel much harder to cope with – our mood may be lower, we can feel unwell and become susceptible to catching colds and flu, we may lack energy and motivation, feel more emotional and not be able to concentrate or think clearly.
This is because sleep is a necessity – it’s our body’s way of rejuvenating itself – during sleep our body’s muscles and soft tissues are repaired, our thoughts and experiences are processed and stored and our energy is restored.
So if you’re struggling to sleep, here are 10 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:
- Manage worry – if there are lots of things on your mind, it can be difficult to switch off and get to sleep, so try to deal with any problems during the day, or write down the things you’re concerned about and work out what, when and how you’re going to resolve them. Remind yourself that whatever thoughts are keeping you awake are almost impossible to resolve at 3am – so writing them down and committing to dealing with them the next day will help. Also, are you over-thinking things? – are the molehills turning into mountains as you ruminate on your thoughts in the middle of the night? It might be an idea to share your concerns with a trusted friend or relative before heading to bed so that you can gain a more realistic perspective of the problem and how it might be tackled.
- Are you tired? – Ensuring you’ve had an active day helps you to feel tired enough to sleep. Getting some exercise will also prepare your body and mind and improve your quality of sleep.
- Be careful what you eat and drink – Both being hungry or feeling too full will delay sleep, so will stimulants such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine, so ensure you cut out stimulants several hours before bed, or even cut them out completely for a while.
- Find time to relax – Make sure that you find some to time to unwind before heading to bed – do something restful to switch off from the day and prepare you for sleep. Also think about what’s restful – perhaps avoiding horror movies and heavy metal music before bed!
- Experiment with new relaxation techniques – There are lots of ways of relaxing and meditation has been used for centuries to calm the mind and body. There are apps such as Headspace and videos on Youtube that can guide you through a meditation or other relaxation technique.
- Establish a routine – Creating a routine will help give your body clues it’s time to sleep – establishing a bedtime that’s similar each day doesn’t just work for kids.
- Create a sleep environment – Your bedroom should be conducive to helping you sleep – a comfortable clean bed and bedding, a comfortable temperature, dim lights, no clutter, calm décor can all help.
- Put your technology to sleep – Your bedroom should be a quiet place with no interruptions, so taking laptops, notebooks and mobile phones with you isn’t a good idea – the temptation to check emails, social media or be disturbed by notifications, texts and calls can prevent you from switching off.
- Try some natural remedies – It may be helpful to try using some natural remedies for sleep – herbal tablets for sleep are available at supermarkets and chemists – pharmacists will be happy to advise you on what might work for you. Essentials oils such as lavender can also help.
- Still can’t sleep? – If you’re not asleep after about an hour of being in bed – it’s best not to continue tossing and turning – get up and do something relaxing or boring and then try again when you’re feeling more sleepy.
Remember that all of these ideas will certainly help but it can take a bit of time to get used to them. If you’re finding that your worries and anxiety are keeping you awake and you’re unable to resolve them then it may be worth talking to a counsellor. Also, sleep disturbance could be the symptom of an underlying medical problem so speak to your GP if you’re unsure.