How To Sleep Better
So we’ve established sleep is important to our brains and therefore everything else we do. So how can we sleep better?
Making sleep a priority is the first step. Consider how much we plan and prepare to go to work/ get up for school for example…
- Set time to get up – check
- Appropriate clothes – check.
- Thinking about what we need to eat before we go or for lunch – check
- Making sure we have the right tools – check
Then there is bed time. You plan to eat at 7 with your partner then sort out the washing, watch the news and go to bed. Instead your partner is late because they go to they gym without telling you, you eat at 9 when they get back having snacked all evening as you were starving, you start watching a programme on catch up as the news was too depressing to cope with which means you don’t finish your washing until close to midnight then you remember about that email you were supposed to send…..
You go to bed at 12.20, then wake up at 3 in a panic that you don’t have the right things clean for the kids school bag tomorrow. And you forgot to buy their lunch.
To help us help ourselves sleep better having a routine is key. Especially if you have been struggling to get to sleep or find your self waking in the night.
Here our our top tips to a better nights sleep:
- Set a time to go to bed. We do the same to get up so this needs to be a priority. Even set an alarm- your brain will start to adjust and self regulate to these timings after a few nights and this will make it easier. Our brains are pretty clever like that.
- Think about your surroundings- what you wear in bed and your bedding as well as the temperature of your room. Too hot and you will not sleep well, bedroom temperatures should be cool (not cold) at night
- Avoiding eating too close to bed time is a big one- you might be ready to shut your eyes and switch off but your gut will not be. Digestion at night takes longer and although you may not be aware of it, this has an impact on quality of sleep. And think about that night cap, 1 glass of wine may help you relax but too many ‘nightcaps’ can actually disrupt your sleep further especially in the middle of the night when you need the toilet and become aware of feeling dehydrated.
- Get off your screens ideally 2 hours before bed. It affects your ability to sleep from the blue light emission from the screen which disrupts some of the hormones ( chemical messengers) that let you know its time to sleep. And then of course that’s before you even get into what you were watching / reading about on FB or insta that stresses you out.
- Incorporate a wind down period before your chosen bed time and do something consciously in that time. What does that mean? Most of us know what helps us relax before bed- a bath, reading, even going for a light walk. Even if it’s only 10 minutes it will help you prepare for sleep and increase your chances of a better quality of sleep. But sometimes there is something you HAVE to do before bed, such as empty the dishwasher. Instead of thinking how annoyed you are that you are not getting to bed and having to empty the dishwasher, focus on the fact you are doing this as a way to feel more organized in the morning and have dishes ready for you to eat breakfast. Changing your perception of a ‘job’ or a ‘chore’ can change a feeling of stress to relaxation.
Next time I will share my simplest and easiest sleep tip of all….