Dogs and babies seem to have no trouble with sleeping so why do so many of us have issues with sleeping? Many clients come to me saying that they are struggling to sleep. We look at the stresses that are causing them to lie awake at night and try to come up with a plan to get a good restful night.
Here are my top tips for a good night routine and a restful night, I have used them all:
Number 1: Bedrooms are designed for 2 things, sleep and sex. Try not to use your bedroom as an office. If you work on your laptop in your bedroom your brain will start to associate your room with being alert and needing to work. There is also the temptation to read work emails out of office hours. If you see something at 1am that you need to deal with, you won’t sleep until you have!
Number 2: Although many people do, watching tv in bed is not a great idea. As with working in your bedroom, watching tv will stimulate your brain and can make falling asleep very difficult. Plus the light from the tv will not help you to switch off. If you do watch tv when you go to bed (I do), turn it off before you settle down to sleep. I rarely have trouble sleeping so I am allowed my tv, as long as I turn it off!
Number 3: Try not to have a clock by the bed, especially one which lights up the time. If you cannot sleep, seeing the time slowly tick by can increase your anxiety about not sleeping. We have all been there at some point, you know you have to get up in 6 hours, and then you look again thinking it must be 5 hours but you’ve literally not looked for 5 minutes! If you are having trouble sleeping try really hard not to keep checking the time. If I check the time it’s a stress inducer for me!
Number 4: Keep the temperature down a bit in your room. If the room is too warm it can be really hard to fall asleep. I have a fan in my room and I have used it in winter, not to shiver but just to cool the air. An open window doesn’t always help but the hum of a fan can serve 2 purposes…
Number 5: Play some white noise or have a fan on. You can get white noise to play on devices without having to have lights on that device. Babies often go to sleep to the sound of a vacuum and this has the same affect. Spotify has all sorts of playlists for white noise for sleep.
Number 6: Have a nice warm bath before bed, warm not hot, and maybe add some lavender oil. Lavender is a relaxing oil which is often used to help with meditation and sleep. Also use a body moisturiser with lavender after your bath. Gently massaging yourself will help to lower your blood pressure particularly if you are feeling anxious about getting to sleep.
Number 7: Try a pillow mist, lots of places sell them, a quick squirt on your pillow will be absorbed by you when you lie down. These gentle smells help calm you down and relaxation can become easier.
Number 8: Turn off your phone. I am a devil for this, never turn my phone off. However, it goes on silent and sometimes even plane mode! It is too easy to spend ages scrolling through social media when we are trying to sleep. But, if you see something that has a strong emotional reaction for you, you won’t get to sleep. Also electronics like phones are too stimulating for your brain at night. I am going to try harder.
Number 9: Is your pillow comfortable? I have 2 pillows, a spongy one and a memory foam pillow. 9 times out of 10 I settle down with the memory foam, the 1 time I use the spongy one I can’t sleep. Find what is right for you. The same goes for your mattress.
Number 10: Avoid caffeine and alcohol for at least an hour before bed. Again stimulants that will not help you when it comes to having a nice restful night.
Hope some of these help, the most important thing is not to be hard on yourself. If you can’t sleep, try something new but don’t get agitated about not being fast alseep.