Sleep consultant Lucy Wolfe says “making sleep a priority and considering sleep to be a significant component to your health and wellbeing is a good start to sleeping all night.” People who understand the importance of sleep to their wellbeing generally make more of an effort to ensure that their sleep is healthy. In reward, they get a lot of sleep!
Having said that, at some point in our lives we have all experienced the infuriating occasion of lying wide awake in bed. Usually this is because we have overslept, we are stressed, we aren’t exercising enough, or our internal clock has been altered due to jetlag or a late night out. Fortunately, there are non-medicinal methods we can try to get to sleep during these painfully irritating hours (and no, they don’t involve counting sheep!)
- Get out of bed. You are probably just lying there watching the clock and worrying about how tired you’ll be tomorrow. This is not helping! Sometimes a change of environment can be beneficial. Move to a different room that is quiet and dimly lit, and perhaps curl up in an armchair until you feel ready for sleep.
- Make your bedroom a retreat. Is your room dark and quiet before you get into bed? Your bedroom should be a soothing haven for rest. Regulate the temperature to be comfortable (it is better to be on the cool side, as warm temperature can cause restlessness). If mess causes you stress, keep your room tidy at all times. And of course, ensure that you have all the best tools for a healthy sleep; such as comfy pillows and a supportive mattress (see the experts at Sleepy’s for advice and assistance in finding the perfect mattress!)
- Put away your devices. Checking Facebook right before bed is a temptation that we all give in to, but devices are better kept out of the room completely. The artificial light in your laptop/phone/tablet reduces your melatonin levels and will keep you awake for longer. Additionally, if your clock is causing you to fret, face it towards the wall so you can’t worry about what time it is!
- Don’t nap during the day. Sometimes, it has been a hectic day and we really just need a power nap. But try not to make this a daily habit. Take naps only when completely necessary, nap before mid-afternoon, and for no longer than an hour.
- Start to wind down at least one hour before bed. Afternoon exercise is a great way to tire our bodies for sleep. Eat dinner as early as possible and avoid games, devices and TV before bed. Find yourself an interesting book to read instead! It’s good for the brain, and much better for your eyes as they won’t be strained by artificial light. If you are a super busy person or a procrastinator, there are apps that remind you to prepare for bed at a particular time.
- Set your alarm for the same time every morning. It is easier to wake up in the mornings if your body is trained to do so. In turn, it will make it easier to fall asleep at night (with the exceptions of weekend sleep-ins of course!)
- Lavender Spray. Although some people strongly dislike the smell of lavender, it actually has a therapeutic and soothing odour. Spray a fine mist of lavender onto your pillow before bed and you will be drifting off to sleep in no time.
- Listen. Some people need complete silence to fall asleep, while others benefit from the sound of music.There are numerous free apps that play gentle music to ease you to sleep. Other apps offer natural sounds such as rain, thunder, waves or even birdsong. Find a tune that will send you to dream land, set it to play for an hour, and make sure your device is out of reach of temptation!
- Body exercises. While you are lying there in an irritated state, tense each of your body parts one by one, just for a few seconds, and then relax them. Start with your feet, then your calves, stomach muscles, etc. This gradual process of relaxing puts the body into a calm state – a great foundation for drifting off.
- Don’t stress. You were supposed to get an early night because of the big day you have tomorrow, but your brain will not switch off. But don’t get upset; this will only keep you awake longer. Even if you are not sleeping, lying down and resting is good. Dale Carnegie said “it’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” So stress less!
- Count Sheep. Okay, we lied. But it works for some!
If you’re finding you need a little extra push towards the optimum sleep, consider a new bed altogether! The sleep experts at Sleepy’s will listen to your needs and preferences to match you with a mattress that is suited especially for you, to help you to sleep as healthy as possible. Ask in store today about how we can match you with the perfect mattress. You will be on the expedition to sleep in no time!
Sweet Dreams, & Sleep Healthy!