So many of us struggle with sleep. Some of us drop off the instant our head hits the pillow but then we find ourselves awake and unable to fall back to sleep. Whilst for some getting to sleep is difficult. A lack of sleep or disrupted sleep can leave us feeling tired and frustrated.
Tiredness can cause us to feel more anxious, feel like we are operating in a daze and often more emotional, whether that be angry, teary or unhappy. My thoughts here are not about the why, because there can be so many reasons nor is this a fool proof list, but more about practical tips which I have tried and that help me.
- Trying to fit in some exercise daily is important for your mind and your body. Going for a walk during your lunch break or parking a bit further away than you would usually and walking the rest of the distance to your destination are two suggestions which are easy to do. However avoid any rigorous workouts, such as spin classes or HIIT classes close to bedtime.
- Having a fixed bedtime and a bedtime routine is hugely important. This will give your mind and body clues and indicators that it is getting ready for sleep.
- Remember that every habit we want to form, and retraining ourselves to sleep is merely forming a habit, takes time. So give anything new at least one month of daily consistency before giving up.
- If I know I have had a particularly taxing day, I use a salt pipe inhaler with essential oils such as Melissa or lavender or bergamot. I spend 5 to 10 minutes inhaling and exhaling, to the count of 3 or 5, in my bedroom with lights dimmed and no distractions. I find this really helps to calm me down and relax my mind and body.
- I use a diffuser with calming oils such as lavender but also sometimes oils to help me breathe more easily such as Black spruce, lemon Myrtle, Eucalyptus and Tea tree. If I have a blocked nose I am also likely to wake in the night.
- I turn the heating down in my bedroom to ensure the room is cool.
- Turn the main lights out and only have a small side lights on about 30 minutes before you want to sleep.
- Turn off mobile Phones, laptops, computers, iPads and TV 30 mins before you want to sleep. Place your mobile phone face down and on mute.
- Have a warm non-caffeine drink, so something like a turmeric latte or a herb tea with chamomile or Passion flower.
- Wake up at the same time everyday too, regardless of whether you have slept well or not. It can be so tempting to stay in bed and try to catch-up on sleep but this 'extra' sleep can leave you feeling even more tired and disorientated.
- If you wake up or cant sleep, try not to stress. Get up, walk about and then start the routine again. The more you think ‘I’ve got to sleep’ the more you wind yourself up and become frustrated.
- Try to note down what you are feeling anxious about and write down what the solutions could be and how you can reach them. That can help to make your worries more manageable.
- Alcohol may send you off to sleep but it can actually make getting a good nights sleep even harder . This is because it effects our blood sugar levels, reduces the R.E.M.(Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep and disrupts our sleep cycle. So all in all you wake up tired, thirsty and very often hungry!
- What you eat before bed and when you eat it also has an impact on how well you sleep; if a meal is to heavy it may cause indigestion but not eating enough may make you hungry! I suggest eating a couple of hours before bed and then having a warm milky drink before bed.