Whether you need 4 hours like Margaret Thatcher, or a much more sensible 8 hours, when you can’t sleep – it’s the worse thing in the world. No surprise it’s used as a form of torture! We examine and to sleep deep and why you should be.
But what to do when you’re tired, irritable, light-headed, and the world seems to be closing in on you? Sleep deprivation makes the smallest issue seem huge, and can, on a long-term basis lead to serious depression and illness.
There are countless ways to try and help – some will work for certain people, and not for others, but try and be open-minded, and at least give them a proper go. You never know until you try.
Develop a Wind-Down Routine
Two hours before bedtime cut out caffeine and alcohol. If you’re hungry, have a last snack of something containing protein or maybe a banana.
One hour before bedtime, gently start to unwind. No exercise or anything strenuous. Turn off the tv. Write a list of tomorrow’s tasks so they are off your mind and on a piece of paper (rather than it swirling around for hours). Turn off the phone.
Sprinkle your pillow with drops of good quality lavender oil (we especially like Tisserand products) www.tisserand.com – it really does help scent the room and prepare you for sleep. Open the window and air the room.
If possible take a warm (not too hot) bath, and relax with a book. Then off to bed!
Make Your Room Conducive to Sleep
A bedroom is for sleeping (and making love). And that’s it! It’s not for tv, gaming, arguing, accommodating the kids or doing work on the laptop. 21st century has turned the bedroom into an extension of the living room, but it’s really not. Here are some tips to claw it back into your sanctuary:
Take out (or don’t use) anything with a screen. Full stop. Leave your work behind at bedtime, and sleep deep to feel amazing.Don’t get into the habit of sleeping with your kids! Not only will they disturb your night, they won’t get used to being on their own – it makes it harder for everyone. Set routines and boundaries from the beginning and everyone will know where they stand.
Make sure your room is dark enough. If your curtains are too flimsy – you’ll be waking up with the lark. Which is fine if you are a lark, but not so great if you’re a busy executive or parent. Maximise your sleep hours – fit lined curtains, or even a blackout blind. It really will help.
Your Bed Is it comfortable? Be honest? Lumps and bumps or a saggy mattress make it impossible to relax into. Treat yourself to a decent mattress and notice the difference.
Look at your pillows too – your neck should be cradled gently – not too high so it strains you. Good quality bedding also adds a touch of luxury and will help that feeling of well-being.
Turn your phone off!! This is one of the biggest factors if you want to sleep deep. If you have the phone on – you’re subconsciously expecting to be woken up. Unless there’s an emergency, leave it downstairs.
If you aim for relaxation, sleep will follow. So rather than going to bed thinking ‘I must sleep’, how about re-ordering thoughts into, ‘relaxation is lovely. I feel soooo chilled’… or similar! Try:
Deep breathing – breathe in through the nose slowly for 5 counts. Hold for 8 counts. Release for 5 – repeat until breathing slows.
Practice muscle relaxation – starting with the toes – clench, hold and relax. Move to the ankles and repeat. The calves, the knees, the thighs. Really hard, clench, hold and relax. Work your way up, section by section – don’t forget fingers , arms – everything. By the time you come to eyelids and facial muscles, you’ll be exhausted. And hopefully ready for sleep!
If you wake in the night – use a flashlight. Bright lights will stimulate your senses again, so try and stay as ‘dark’ as possible.
When thoughts enter your mind, try to practice non-attachment. Let it enter, and just flow away. Don’t ‘converse’ with it, or plan how to respond to it.. just let it go.
We hope some of these tips help you. Good luck…
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