How did you sleep last night?
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Did you sleep well? Adequate rest is the holy grail of well-being for many of us. We have the best of intentions about getting the ‘right’ amount of sleep (which we all know so well by now is 7-9 hours-worth). When as so often happens, we fall short of this, we can feel cheated, almost guilty, and as if we have failed in our duty to keep our bodies and minds in decent shape.
Common problems associated with sleeping include difficulty falling asleep, waking in the night and waking up too early. Some have physical causes, some are linked to our mental state. All of these will lead to us feeling groggy and not ready to face the day, let alone get through it.
There are solutions out there and the following tips address some of the scenarios that could be affecting your sleep from a number of different angles: either getting yourself into bed in a relaxed state, managing to stay asleep without disturbance during the night, and subsequently feeling rested when you wake up, I’m not pretending it’s all going to fall into place and you will be back to sleeping like a baby again, if only! However, implementing some of these that look relatable will definitely help.
Practical steps you can apply to your sleep-time and wake-up time regime.
- Set an alarm to tell you when it’s time for bed. Make sure that lights are dimmed, and remove any bright sources of light from the bedroom such as TV, laptop and phone screens. Bright lights send a signal to your brain that it is time to be awake and alert.
- Try and avoid drinking alcohol near to bed-time. A nightcap may help you feel relaxed and sleepy but alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and cause wakefulness in the middle of the night.
- Try and avoid eating a heavy meal more than a couple of hours before bedtime. Having to digest food straight after retiring to bed. can also be disruptive to sleep patterns.
- A good rule of thumb is to try and factor in a 10-12 hour fast between your last meal of the day, and breakfast the next morning. So, if you eat breakfast at 8.00 am you should aim to eat your last meal of the evening by 8.00 pm, and that means no late-night snacking…
- Try to avoid using the ‘snooze’ function on your alarm as the quality of sleep between dozes is light and poor quality and can leave you feeling even more groggy than ever.
- Napping during the day can be beneficial, as long as it is limited to 20-30 minutes and doesn’t occur in the late afternoon or evening.
Practical things you can do to help you sleep.
- Ensure that your mattress and pillows are in good condition. Not only do they lose their support and comfort over the years, but they can also be a source of dust mites which can cause breathing problems and allergic reactions. A good rule of thumb is to replace your mattress every 5-10 years and your pillow every 1-2 years.
- I have a silk pillowcase on my pillow which not only provides a cool surface for my cheek to rest on and so is more relaxing than cotton, but it also helps with keeping hair tidy overnight and can allegedly prevent lines and wrinkles forming on the face. This is mine: Silk Pillowcase .You can couple this with a silk eye mask to blot out the light.
- Lavender oil is a very soothing essential oil which is said to have relaxing properties. Try sprinkling a few drops of it on your (silk) pillowcase. Or what I like to do is mix some drops of lavender oil in with a neutral oil and apply it to my hands – a double win of soft skin and sleep-inducing scent – gorgeous. Take a look at this one: Tisserand Lavender Oil
- Magnesium: supplements are said to have the effect of helping to calm the nervous system, helping to prepare the body and mind for rest and sleep. You could check these ones out: Ultra Magnesium Tablets
- Breathing exercise like this one: the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique can be extremely effective in relieving you of stress and making you relaxed and ready for sleep.
- Exercise is always beneficial – try to fit a routine into every day if you can – see here for some ideas for short workouts that can be done in the evening ahead of bedtime http://www.fiftyanything.com/highly-effective-15-minute-workouts-you-can-do-at-home/
- Keeping hydrated is very important, but limiting liquids an hour before bedtime can help ensure sleep isn’t disturbed by night-time visits to the bathroom.
Putting these tips and ideas into practice should help with maintaining better habits around sleep, and in turn lead to better quality rest.
Do you have sleep issues – like most of the rest of the planet…..? I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
Sweet Dreams when you get to bed tonight xx