Sleeping beauty makes it look easy when the reality is sleep can often be hard to find when you’re anxious or you have a busy mind.
Time and time again we’re told how getting a good dose of eight hours sleep is essential for better health and wellbeing, but it can be easier said than done. You may go to bed tired, but then your brain turns on and decides to start an internal chatter. Sound about right?
We all want more sleep because when we’re well-rested we feel good, make better decisions, and can enjoy our day with more of a spring in our step. So what’s the trick to finally getting better sleep?
We’ve revealed seven tips you should try when you’re next preparing for bedtime. These tips are not only highly recommended by sleep experts but are backed by studies on those who struggle with nodding off the most.
Being active and taking part in physical exercise is a key component to getting a better night’s sleep.
The Sleep Foundation has conducted numerous studies on the links between exercises and sleep, and have found that there is a relationship between being active and having good sleep patterns.
Studies have shown that a poor night’s sleep even impacts our ability to take up physical exercises the next day.
From The Sleep Foundations research, they have found that exercise can increase sleep quality by reducing the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Which means there’s no more lying awake in bed at night waiting for sleep to find you.
The bonus to this research is that the study has also shown that even moderate exercises can support sleep, which is all the more reason to get out and give golf a go more often.
Switch Off Before You Nod Off
You may or may not know that our technology is keeping us awake – and we don’t just mean because we’re addicted to scrolling through Instagram.
Smartphones, laptops, and televisions, all emit a blue light, which tells our brains it’s still daytime. Yes, even when it’s dark outside and you’re binging on Netflix, our eyes are picking up on that blue light and telling our brains that it’s daytime.
Our technology habits can cause havoc on our sleep patterns, which is why it’s so important to switch off and give yourself time to wind down before going to bed.
Ideally, you should switch off all blue light devices at least one hour before bedtime, and only have low, warm lights around the house.
Create an Evening Ritual
How often do you take the time to unwind after your day?
When life is busy we have some bad habits of not giving our minds and bodies the time they need to recognise that it is now time to sleep. Whether we’re wrestling toddlers into bed, still pottering around the house doing chores, or answering work emails, we have a tendency to fill our time right up until the moment we need to go to bed.
Instead, we need to give both mind and body time to come down from the high energy of the day. Otherwise, we’re going to bed with all that high energy and stress racing around our bodies.
Creating an evening ritual can be one way to support you in detaching from the day and helping you to find some slowness before your head hits the pillow.
It’s about building a very simple routine for yourself that helps you to relax, unwind and leave the day. As get accustomed to this routine you will notice your sleep improves as you’re signifying to your brain that it’s sleep time.
Your ritual could include, switching off all devices, taking a bath, reading a book, journaling about your day, drinking a soothing camomile tea.
Create your own bedtime ritual that gives you at least one hour to 30 minutes of downtime before you decide to get into bed.
Zen Your Environment
Our environment holds a great influence on our emotional and mental state. And we all know how this feels. If you walk into a messy or dirty space you instantly feel on edge.
The same goes for our bedroom environment, is it created in a way that will support relaxation?
As tidying expert Marie Kondo says, “everyone needs a sanctuary”, and your bedroom should be your sanctuary for sleep.
Create an environment that is made for rest. Whether that means you need to simplify and declutter or add some new additions such as an aromatherapy diffusers or some houseplants.
Make your bedroom your sanctuary and sleep will soon find you.
Take a Mindful Moment
Meditation before bed can be a great antidote to settle that busy wandering mind, and enable your body to come to a place of stillness and relaxation.
Meditation is about becoming present and aware. Being in the here and now, rather than being lassoed off to things that have already happened in the day, or things that are yet to come.
As humans, we have an incredible tendency not to be in the present moment. We’re often ruminating on things that have happened, or worrying about things in the future. But this thinking only brings on anxiety, which is the enemy of sleep.
Through meditation, you get grounded on being right here in the now. And you don’t have to be an expert to learn meditation, there are now many apps around that can help you get to a place of presence.
Meditation also heavily focuses on using the breath. The breathing used in meditation helps our nervous system calm down, helping us to move away from stress and into a calmer state of mind; ideal for bringing on sleep.
Distract the Mind
If your mind is still rather rebellious and switching on at night, a distraction can be a great way to make it focus on something which will bring on sleep.
Sleep podcasts and playlists are now becoming increasingly popular as more people try to improve their sleeping habits.
No matter what your preference, you can now find an audio guide to help you gently nod off.
From being read a bedtime story to white noise and rainfall soundtracks; there are many audio tools out there that can support you in drifting off to a peaceful sleep.
Soothe with Self-Massage
We all love a massage, but it’s not practical or affordable to get one every day – if only!
But self-massage is proven to aid sleep and improve digestion.
Massaging your feet before bedtime has a number of benefits that support both relaxation and circulation.
If you’ve ever tried Reflexology, a massage therapy whereby pressure points on the feet, hands and ears are related to various organs in the body, you’ll know that the feet have a link to our internal wellbeing.
By massaging your feet in the evening before tucking yourself into bed, you not only enhance your sense of relaxation, but you also improve the circulation in your body, helping your body to better digest food while you sleep. It’s really quite amazing.
Plus if you get yourself to some beautifully scented aromatherapy oils it becomes quite the evening treat that you will always look forward to after a long day.