I have struggled with sleep for quite a few years. Here are some tips I found very helpful for getting that elusive ‘good nights sleep’.
– Drink water regularly throughout the day and make sure your meals are healthy and well-balanced. The chemicals and toxins in processed foods make your liver and kidneys work harder, which can interrupt your sleep cycle.
– Do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise during the day. Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, relieve stress and burn off excess energy.
– Avoid having stimulants such as caffeine late in the day, as this will make it hard for your brain to ‘switch off’ at night. Also avoid having alcohol at night if you’re trying to get a good sleep (one glass of wine at dinner shouldn’t hurt, but excessive amounts of alcohol will impair your quality of sleep).
– Don’t eat too late at night, as this will keep your digestive system working away while you are trying to fall asleep, which can impair sleep quality. Especially try to avoid eating too much protein, fat or sugar at night (stick mainly to healthy carbs and veges).
– Try drinking a green or herbal tea in the evening to help you to relax.
– Add a touch of lavender to your bedroom. Studies have proven that lavender aids in sleep. You can get sprays containing real lavender, which you can spray onto your pillow or sheets, or simply have a small bunch of lavender flowers at your bedside.
– Do some gentle yoga or stretching before you go to bed. This will help to release tension from your muscles and relax your body.
– Have a bedtime routine. For instance, brushing your teeth, washing your face, getting changed into pajamas, and then reading or doing another relaxing activity for 20 minutes before turning out the light.
– Make sure you are going to bed at a reasonable time (so you will get 8-10 hours of sleep). Try to keep this bedtime as consistent as possible.
– Don’t do anything too stimulating right before bed, as this will mean your body will take longer to relax (e.g. avoid reading off bright screens, playing computer games, doing work, or exercising too late at night).
– Write any pressing thoughts down before you go to bed (so your mind doesn’t keep going over them at night). It may be something that is worrying you, something you need to remember to do the next day, or an idea that has come into your mind.
– Turn your cellphone off or onto ‘silent’ mode so that you will not be woken up by the phone or be tempting to pursue a conversation with someone.
– Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
– It’s really important that you are comfortable before you try to fall asleep – make sure you are warm (or cool) enough and have a comfortable bed and bedding arrangement. A comfortable bed is a great investment!
– When you are trying to fall asleep, practice some simple meditation. While lying down in bed, close your eyes and focus on nothing but your breathing for 5-10 minutes.
Although it may take time to get into a new sleeping pattern, the benefits to your energy levels and mindset from getting a good night’s rest will be well worth it!