How often do you lie awake at night worrying about the fact that you can’t sleep? And of course worrying about not sleeping makes us even more likely to stay awake! It’s a horrible cycle to get into, but before you book an appointment with the doctor, why not try the following tips.
It’s really important to get in to a routine. Whether it’s warm drink and a warm bath or an evening walk with the dog followed by a shower, having a set routine before bed helps you get attuned to your body’s natural sleeping and waking cycle.
Getting as much natural light as you can during the day helps set your body clock, so try and spend as much time as you can outside. In the evening avoid bright light, especially if it’s coming from an electronic screen. Try listening to music or audio books instead of watching television or using a computer.
Exercise helps both your body and mind. It speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates activating hormones. So walk that dog, ride that bike, or whatever else takes your fancy. The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise such as walking for just 10 minutes a day improves sleep quality. Just keep in mind that exercise is not a quick fix. It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting benefits.
No midnight snacking! Be wise about what you eat and drink in the evening. In a perfect world you wouldn’t be drinking coffee or eating anything rich or spicy after five o’clock. At the very least cut back on your caffeine intake and remember the old saying, ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord, supper like a pauper.
Try to manage your stress levels. Don’t toss and turn worrying about things that have happened during the day, or, for that matter, things you haven’t done. Have a notebook by your bed and before settling down to sleep write down all the thoughts that are still bothering you. They’ll be safe in that book until you wake up in the morning, and surprisingly, don’t seem to be quite so problematical the following day. Learn some relaxation techniques if necessary. For example, close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.
It’s really important to improve your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom cool and calm. No electronics, no phones. Choose a mattress that supports you properly and bedding made out of wool and cotton that allow your body to regulate its own temperature. Buying a mattress that doesn’t introduce harsh chemicals into the room is of undoubted benefit.
I hope those few tips will help you get the great night’s sleep that you undoubtedly deserve!