Is better quality sleep something that you struggle with? You’re not alone, more and more people report that their sleep patterns change regularly. Some fall asleep with no problems only to wake throughout the night. Others struggle for hours to get to sleep but then sleep soundly only to be rudely awaken by the alarm clock.
So what can you do to help yourself?
Here are 5 key tips:
1) Bedroom environment
Keep the bedroom for sleep or sex only! Take out all distractions, including all electrical items (computers, iPads, TVs etc) – tech free. Keep the room clutter free and dimly lit. The brain will then associate the room purely for relaxation only each time you go in there. Use essential oils to calm and soothe. Lavender, Roman Chamomile or Frankincense are excellent essential oils to but in an aromatherapy diffuser in the room just before bed. Temperature should be comfortable, so not too hot or cold. Also, check your mattress - it's amazing how just changing this can make a big difference.
2) Sleep routine
Try to go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time every day. Routines aren't just for children, they have been shown to work for adults too.
3) Uppers and Downers
Avoid all stimulating food and drinks for up to 3 hours before bed. This includes all caffeine fuelled items – coffee, black tea, green tea, colas, and chocolates. Sugar is generally stimulating so that’s a no-no too. In the same vein, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs will not help and only prove to disrupt the natural sleep patterns. In fact you’re more likely to wake up during the night and the quality of sleep will be very poor. Try to eat a few hours before bed and stick to relaxing herbal teas.
4) Get up and Go
Get active during the day. Whether you are a gym bunny, a yoga fan or just simply enjoy a good walk – do something every day. Try and do this during the daytime or early evening but not too close to bed time as it could have the effect of waking you up instead. Creative hobbies are also great for calming the mind – such as art, gardening, cooking or even doing a jigsaw.
5) Stress free zone
We all know that at the most stressful times our sleep is rubbish. So what can you do? Exercise as above is great. Meditation or some simple breathing exercises just before bedtime could also be helpful. Aromatherapy in the room or bath could calm the mind enough to allow sleep. Some form of relaxing complementary treatment, such as a massage or reflexology has been shown to relax and de-stress.
If churning thoughts keep you up then keep a notepad and pen by the bed and write everything down as it’s in your head that way you can relax knowing that it’s there for you to deal with in the morning. However, if you really can’t sleep don’t lie there tossing and turning, get up out of the room and do something elsewhere in the house for a short while. Then return and try again.