Sometimes falling asleep is the hardest thing. You may have had a massive day and feel exhausted but laying there in the dark, sleep eludes you. You are restless, your mind is active with thoughts of what you did today and what’s to be done tomorrow and no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to succumb to the sand man. And getting enough sleep is important! Less than 6 hours and you increase your risk for heart disease and weight gain.
Most of us lead busy lives > work, study and family commitments see us go-go-going all day, followed by some TV time to help us relax and wind down then it’s off to bed we go. We are stimulated from the moment we wake by our mobile phones (early morning Facebook scrolling), the morning news, the morning radio show on the drive to work/school, busy workplace environments looking at computers and answering telephones, skimming through social media multiple times during the day, more TV at night and then….suddenly we’re in a dark, quiet room. Of course it’s difficult to switch off, we haven’t given our minds a chance.
Having a bedtime routine will help to set you up for falling asleep easily and getting that peaceful nights sleep that you need! Putting into practice the following sleep easy tips should help you to sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and energized (N.B. unless you have a baby, then you’re screwed):
- Make sure you eat a nutritious, satisfying dinner with lots of fresh veggies. Deficiencies in vitamins C, D and the B’s, as well magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese have all been linked to insomnia. Also you won’t wake up hungry during the night!
- It’s not only about what you eat but how you eat your last meal of the day. Take the time to sit down at a table without the distraction of a T.V and eat mindfully. Enjoying your food, with family or by yourself, is a great practice to help unwind from your day. It will also help with your digestion which means you won’t go to bed with a full, bloated, uncomfortable belly.
- Partaking in some gentle exercise such as walking or yoga, at least 1 hour after eating, will help expel any excessive energy you may have and help avoid bedtime restlessness.
- If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, enjoying a soak in a warm bath with some epsom salts and a relaxing essential oil is a great way to unwind. 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil + 1 cup of epsom salts = bath time bliss!Tweet This
- Enjoy a cup of soothing valerian, hops and lemon balm herbal tea. This combination has been scientifically proven to improve sleep quality. Just mix the dried herbs together, pop into a tea ball and infuse for 5 mins.
- Meditate to focus your mind. Even just 10 minutes of mindful meditation before bed is a proven way to calm a cluttered mind. Not sure how to meditate? Start with just closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Breathing slowly and deeply in and then slowly exhaling out. Repeat 4 times. Deep breathing switches on the parasympathetic nervous system (for resting and digesting). You can follow a guided meditation, focus on a word or colour in your mind, or simply just keep focusing on your breath.
- Diffusing relaxing essential oils such as lavender in your bedroom is a lovely way to aid your sleep. It’s best to use a vaporiser over an oil burner. As it states, with an oil burner you are literally burning your essential oils which damages the constituents, whereas steam just unlocks the constituents from the oils into the air. Vaporisers are also a safer option, especially as you’ll be asleep.
- There are some great herbal supplements that help with insomnia and restlessness. Personally I take PS Calm, which helps with insomnia and anxiety.
- Your body clock is rhythmical so try to go to bed at the same time every night. This will make it easier to fall into a deep sleep as your body will already be preparing for it.
- As above, set your alarm for the same time every morning 6-10 hours after your bedtime (depending on how much sleep you personally need). This routine will help you to get the optimal amount of sleep you need each night for good health, and after only a couple of days you should find it easier to fall asleep and wake up.
- As tempting as it is sometimes, once you wake up in the morning DON’T GO BACK TO SLEEP. We’ve all done it and more times than not you wake back up feeling groggy and unmotivated. When you wake up, get up and get going!
Personally I’m one of those early to bed early to rise people. I’m in bed by 8:30 (9:00 at the latest) every night (when I’m not working night shift!) so I set my alarm for 5:30. This gives me 8-9 hours of sleep (allowing for waking up for my baby, or a toilet trip) which is perfect for me. It also allows me some time to myself in the morning before little Miss wakes up to do my yoga.
Obviously everyone has different commitments and complexities in their lives but by adopting some or all of these tips you will be on your way to better sleep night after night.
Sleep tight x