Top Tips for A Better Sleep
I’ve gone through times over the last number of years when I have suffered from insomnia. Whether it was because of grief over the death of a loved one, a broken heart, stress from exams or because of medication (in my case steroids), not getting sleep sucked! It impacted not only my nights (frustration, agitation, irritation etc) but also my days when I looked and felt like a zombie. I resorted to sleeping pills which got me over the hump but some of the time resulted in an unhealthy dependency.
In my previous post, I wrote about the need of a good sleep for healthy mind, body and overall wellbeing. I’ve picked up some good tips over the years to help me not only get to sleep, but also have a better more restorative sleep. Thankfully I’ve totally ditched the tablets now and my fantastic sleeps are totally natural.
Here are my top tips:
Make your room more inviting and calming. The bedroom should be a place of only the two R’s (rest and romance!):
- Make your bed when you get up. Who wants to crawl into an unmade crumpled bed??
- Work doesn’t induce rest or romance so no work stuff in the bedroom (papers, laptops etc).
- Clear the clutter. Dirty clothes, mugs, shoes etc. Tidy them away. De-clutter your room. Think of it as feng shui. This is a big one for me, I can’t settle properly in a messy room.
- Regulate the temperature. If you are too hot or too cold it can hamper a good night’s rest.
- Make the room as dark as possible to help melatonin production (the hormone promotes sleep). Blue light (from televisions, computers, iPads, iPhones, mobiles etc) is the most disruptive light as it immediately shuts down the production of melatonin. These devices shouldn’t be used before going to bed.
- Consistency is the key. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time, even at the weekends (sorry!) so that your body falls into a natural rhythm.
- Study after study has shown that people who exercise on a regular basis tend go to sleep easier and sleep more soundly than people who don’t so get a consistent exercise routine going.
- Have a wind-down routine before bed that doesn’t involve television, internet or any stressful conversations. Have a bath, read a book or magazine, listen to some soothing music, write in a gratitude journal, meditate or do some relaxation exercises instead.
- If you are worried about something or need to remember something for the next day, write it down in a notebook and put away until the morning to take it off your mind.
Eating and drinking
- Cut down on the caffeine and sugar during the day but especially at night. If you have to drink tea or coffee have it before noon and stick to herbal teas or water the rest of the day. Otherwise you might find yourself in that ‘tired but wired’ state!
- Cut down on the alcohol. Although many say that alcohol helps them to fall asleep, unfortunately as it leaves the body, it can cause people to wake up during the night.
- Eat sleep promoting foods in the evening that are high in tryptophan which are converted to serotonin and melatonin such as spirulina, spinach, banana, nuts, seeds, and oats to name a few.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal late at night as its digestion can mess with your sleep.
- Don’t drink too many liquids before bed. While it’s bad to go to bed dehydrated, you don’t want a lovely sleep interrupted by trips to the bathroom. Been there, done that, learnt my lesson.
All these things are great and have worked for me but the thing that helped me most I feel has been ear plugs. They block out noises that might otherwise have kept me awake (snoring etc) I find that the only sound I end up hearing is the sound of my own breathing which is uber relaxing. I nod off so quickly when I use ear plugs.
If you have any tips that have worked for you I’d love to hear.
Sleep well x