How can I sleep better at night?
Work hard, play hard…but where does sleep fit in?
Nowadays so many people find it hard to get a good night’s sleep amid a more hurried life crammed with work and social commitments.
But we shouldn’t neglect a good night’s sleep, it’s been proven so many times that a good, solid night’s rest will up your productivity both at home and work, help lighten your mood and increase your ability to make good decisions and hold down relationships.
Here’s our list of natural ways to help you sleep better:
Keep a ‘sleep schedule’
Make sure you go to bed at roughly the same every night and waking up the next day at the same time. By maintaining regular sleeping hours you will train your body and mind to automatically feel tired at a certain time.
If possible, avoid taking a nap close to your bedtime. If you’ve found yourself straying from your sleep schedule, don’t worry, just try again to stick to it for as long as possible.
Prepare for bed
Around an hour before you plan to sleep, start preparing for bed by slowing down your activities – switch off TVs, computers, mobile phones or other electronic devices.
The blue light emitted from these devices can block the production of melatonin, which makes your body feel sleepy. At the same time, turn down the lights so the environment is dim and if you like light candles or incense (lavender is especially good) that make you feel relaxed.
Discover more relaxing activities like reading a book or taking a warm, soothing bath – all these bedtime rituals will indicate to your body that it’s sleep time soon.
Meditation can also help you shift your focus away from the day’s worries and help you feel more relaxed.
There are many different types of sleep meditation including a body scan, where you focus on sensations in the body, or binaural beats where low frequencies enhance your relaxation. Meditation is a really calm way to shake off the day, put to bed any anxieties or concerns, and deepen your relaxation.
Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, and make you feel more relaxed.
Take time out during the day to do some regular exercise. Start small and gradually increase your activity whether it’s walking, yoga, football etc…, but try to do something you like so that you will continue to do it.
Make sure you do your exercise during the morning or afternoon, so your body is exposed to natural light, reinforcing the time in which you are awake.
When we exercise, our body temperature also often rises, so if you start being physical close to your bedtime, then you won’t have enough time to cool down and feel less stimulated.
Watch what you drink
Avoid alcohol or caffeine before bedtime, if anything, try and avoid these stimulant drinks at least four to six hours before you plan to sleep in order to give your body time to shake off their effects.
Here’s a video of Professor Matt Walker talking about the effects of alcohol on sleep
Why can’t I sleep?
Getting to the root of why you can’t sleep
By pinpointing why, you can then address the problem and work on shaking off those concerns.
The inability to sleep is often linked to anxiety, stress, and sometimes even depression, in other cases emotional or mental trauma can hinder people’s ability to get to, and stay asleep.
It can then be vicious circle with a lack of sleep making these negative sentiments feel worse.
We often feel very alone when we need to address problem areas in our lives, but you’re not.
Seek out a councillor to talk to, or if you’re more comfortable, a family member or friend, there will also be help groups in your area.
A journey of self discovery is one way to address your personal issues.
Meditation is one way to help you focus on yourself and unearth feelings- whether good or bad – and teach you how to cope and accept them.
Practising meditation often requires you to bring your attention to the present and gives you a feeling of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
It’ll help you address relationships, self esteem among other aspects.