Part 1; Your Bedroom
Get the room fresh; make sure your bedroom is well aired.
Make sure the bed and room are not too hot or cold.
If your bed and/or mattress are past their best and you can afford it, think about getting a new one. Change the mattress about every seven years. Make sure your pillows give you good support.
Keep your room as dark as you can and/or wear an eye mask.
It may be hard to stop noise from outside of the house. Make sure you control as much noise inside the house as you can. If there is a lot of noise use ear plugs.
Part 2; Mind and Body
Exercise can help you sleep better.
Mornings, afternoons or early evenings are best. Do not exercise three hours before bed. A brisk walk for 20-30 minutes is a good easy way of exercising.
Try not to eat for about 2 hours before you go to bed as your body starts to work to digest the food and you need to be slowing your body down now. If you are hungry have a light snack such as a banana. Try not to eat during the night if you wake up.
Drink small amounts in the evening which may help you stop the need to go to the toilet during the night. Be mindful of what you digest; tea, coffee, headache tablets energy tablets and drinks and painkillers can all contain caffeine, a stimulant. Be aware of how much caffeine you take through the day and try to cut out as much as you can in the late afternoon and evening.
Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well.
When you wake up or can’t get to sleep, take note of what seems to be the recurring theme. That will help you figure out what you need to do to get your stress and anger under control during the day:If you can’t stop yourself from worrying, especially about things outside your control, you need to learn how to manage your thoughts.
For example, you can learn to evaluate your worries to see if they’re truly realistic and learn to replace irrational fears with more productive thoughts. Even counting sheep is more productive than worrying at bedtime.
If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake, you need help with stress management. By learning how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you’ll be able to sleep better at night.
Relaxation is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those struggling with sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Some simple relaxation techniques include:
Deep breathing: Close your eyes—and try taking deep, slow breaths—making each breath even deeper than the last.
Progressive muscle relaxation: Starting at your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
Visualizing a peaceful, restful place: 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.
If you have a smart phone and can download applications for your phone you can find free apps to help and assist you to relax. You can search for them using keywords such as sleep or relax and also under listed categories such as Health or Medical. Most will have timers to allow you to play relaxing sounds and will switch off after a set time.
You can also use natural sleep remedies such as Lavender to help aid a restful sleep. You can buy small Lavender pillows to place between your normal pillows or dried Lavender hung from your bed also works well. Lavender essences in the form of air fresheners, fragrant candles and oils for either bathing or burning (do not leave candles or oil burners unattended) also aid mindful rest.
Part 3; Getting Back to Sleep
It’s normal to wake briefly during the night. In fact, a good sleeper won’t even remember it. But if you’re waking up during the night and having trouble falling back asleep, the following tips may help.
Stay out of your head. The key to getting back to sleep is continuing to cue your body for sleep, so remain in bed in a relaxed position. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over the fact that you’re awake or your inability to fall asleep again, because that very stress and anxiety encourages your body to stay awake. A good way to stay out of your head is to focus on the feelings and sensations in your body, so become more mindful.
Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you are finding it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, deep breathing, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Remind yourself that although they’re not a replacement for sleep, rest and relaxation will still help rejuvenate your body.
Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim so as not to cue your body clock that it’s time to wake up. Also avoid screens of any kind—computers, TV, cell phones, iPads—as the type of light they emit is stimulating to the brain.
A light snack or herbal tea might help relax you, but be careful not to eat so much that your body begins to expect a meal at that time of the day.
Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when you are fresh and it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a brainstorm or great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive and creative after a good night’s rest.
Now, turn the lights off and get some rest.
Last updated: 20th July 2022