Getting a good night’s sleep can make a whole world of difference to your mood and even your health. Ironically, I’m writing this in the late night, after only getting a couple of hours of sleep, which brings me straight to a leading factor in sleep disruption- Stress and anxiety. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself lying awake at night with your mind ticking over about everything you’ve forgotten to do during the day and things you have to remember to do the next day. We’ve all been in a situation where it’s difficult to switch off and get to sleep, and in those situations, there are a few tricks to helping sleep better.
- If it is a case of not being able to shut off, or having too many stressful things to think about, listening to soft music can help distract your brain and help soothe it into sleeping. I have an acoustic playlist for just this occasion, and it does help me sleep without overplaying all the little stresses from the day. There are even CDs designed for that purpose- soft repetitive rhythms such as waves breaking, ocean sounds, and that sort of thing are great to lull you to sleep.
- The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui says that sleep interruption is due to an imbalance of energies. Changing things in your bedroom can help to reset these energies and promote a better night’s sleep. Move your bed as far away from the door as possible, but make sure you still have a good view of the door, that you’re not sleeping under a skylight window, and your head is not facing an open window, as these, all have adverse effects on your “Chi” (energy).
- Taking a warm bath is a great way to relax the muscles and the mind, as is drinking a warm glass of milk 15 minutes before you go to bed.
- Setting a regular bedtime and waking up at the same time each day can help to regulate your sleep cycle, allowing you to sleep better at night.
- Increasing the amount of light you get during the day will help you sleep better at night. If you think about hundreds of years ago, other than fire, people didn’t have any unnatural source of light. Sleep patterns were controlled based on light and dark, and with the introduction of electricity and the lightbulb, this has been majorly disrupted. Light intake produces a hormone called “melatonin,” which helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and so the more natural light you take in, the easier it will be to get to sleep at night. If you work in an office all day, then try and take your lunch break outside, move your desk nearer a window or even use a light therapy box.
- Cut down caffeine, give up smoking, try not to overeat before bed, and avoid alcohol before sleeping. All of these are proven to disrupt your sleep. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are all stimulants that can cause sleep problems, as can food digesting as you’re trying to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom tidy. I find that I can relax a lot more in a space that is clutter-free, clean, has excellent furniture, and smells nice. Ensure your bedroom is peaceful and doesn’t add to your stress.
I spent all of yesterday in bed with the flu- curtains drawn, lights off, tv on and naps throughout the day, It’s now 4 am, and I’m wide awake! Time for a warm bath and some soothing music, I think.