Everyone knows the importance of a good night's rest, but to many people (about a third of the general population have some insomnia symptoms) night-time can be a time of discomfort as you lay awake trying desperately to switch off.
We've got some tips that will help you get some well deserved rest
Does your bedroom contain a bed and few other items, or is it somewhere you also work and watch tv? Ideally try to make it a place where there is little distraction other than sleep, although this can be easier said than done. If you have limited space, try making one part of the room dedicated to study/work and once you’re finished for the day put something over the tv, or laptop/mobile device in a drawer. Although these are simple concepts they help to maintain boundaries (and also stop you binging Netflix in bed!)
You’ve probably read this hint many other times in many other blogs. The question is how do you make a routine when you can’t sleep at night? Unfortunately there are no easy answers and it will differ for each person, but we found there were a few tips that helped more than others:
- Don’t be too strict on yourself, if you do oversleep continue the routine as normal
- You are allowed 20 mins (maximum) napping time for each hour of the day
- Exercise REALLY helps to if you don’t feel tired at night
- Don’t under any circumstances snooze! As soon as you’re alarm sounds get up (or if you’re awake before then)
3. Get Outdoors
A slightly odd tip you might think, but it’s all to do with daylight. Light, especially sunlight helps to regulate your melatonin circadian rhythm. Melatonin in turn helps to induce a state of sleep. If you spend all day stuck indoors under electrical lights then this tip can be especially important.
4. Leave Your Thoughts to Rest With Soothing Self Talk
Journaling can be a cathartic process if you find yourself worrying about everything once you get into bed, and there is an additional tool which can aid you in getting a decent night's sleep. Try writing to yourself as if you were a small child with compassionate and supportive messages. These can be something simple - “you can sleep well and everything is ok” or more complex, the length is not important. Try to maintain a voice as if you were a parent talking to your child. This philosophy is a tenet in Buddhist religion, they believe you carry an inner child within and is also something that has been used in therapy in recent years.
5. No More Alcohol, Smoking, Coffee (ok, well just a little bit)
It probably goes without saying that these three items will affect your sleep, but it can be quite surprising just how much effect they can have.
Although a small drink may help nerves before bed, alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns and makes it more difficult to maintain restful sleep throughout the night. If you do drink regularly try to cut down the amount and avoid it before bedtime. Nicotine is a stimulant and correlated with numerous sleep problems. Plus smoking in general is a pretty nasty habit for your body, try to reduce the amount during the day and avoid before bed. Caffeine is also a stimulant, try to reduce the amount you have or be strict with what time you have your last caffeinated drink, before 2:00pm is a good time as it can take a surprisingly long time for caffeine to properly leave your system.
6. How Do I Relax?
If there’s one irony that has become part of everyday life that is of choice and how there is too much! Sleep Apps, Sleep Yoga, Meditation, Breathing Exercises, Stretches, Mindfulness, ASMR videos.
The list goes on and on, how are you meant to stick to one thing when there are so many to try? We’ve found that something very simple and easy before bed is the most helpful. Learning or even watching a yoga video might be the last thing you want to do prior to sleeping, so why not simplify it and do 10 mins of whatever you feel that night. It doesn’t have to be constrictive and feel free to change it up as much as you want. Little and often is the key, otherwise you may find yourself more stressed than before!
7. Weighted Blankets
If you find that you’ve tried everything and nothing helps, it may be worth looking into buying a weighted blanket. Scientific studies have found the extra pressure from the blanket gives a person a feeling of safety and comfort, which is great for anyone suffering from anxiety at night. And many people have found them to be extremely helpful.
8. The Body
We often forget that we are not just our minds. Our bodies are wonderful items that are extremely complex, there may be things going on in them that haven’t been resolved for a long time and this is what keeps us awake at night. Yet our conscious minds are disconnected and we don’t realise anything is wrong. As already mentioned, Yoga, Mindfulness and meditation are great tools, but there are times in people's lives when none of these options are useful.
Sometimes we need help and support from others, in essence we are communal creatures and a supportive partnership can help to rebuild a sense of safety within ourselves. This is something of a personal journey, but help can be found through many different fields including therapy, acupuncture and massage.
Lack of sleep and insomnia can feel like they’re taking over your life, but with small changes you can soon take back control of your sleep and enjoy bedtime 💤🛌😴