Sleep is the one thing that we all need. We need it to function on a daily basis and there is no escape from the after effects of getting too little.
There are many better benefits to getting the right quantity and quality of sleep.
You function at your best.
You maintain good health.
You look your best.
You feel happy and content and have a positive outlook on life.
You’ll soon realise when you don’t get enough sleep or have bad quality sleep.
You may become irritable and lack patience.
You tend to feel a little down.
You don’t look as good as you would usually.
You find yourself complaining about little things in life more.
You may also take it out on others around you.
Here are some tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep:
Your activities throughout the day can have an impact on your sleep.
Exercise regularly, this will help you stay healthy and fit and can also help you obtain good quality sleep.
If you don’t do much physical work, try going for a short walk or doing something you enjoy such as dancing, gardening or something else you enjoy.
Everyone is different. Therefore, while one person may require 9 hours sleep, another may only need 6. Observe how much you need by how you are feeling the next day. Test 6 hours one day and then see if you can increase it by an hour. You may find you work best with segmented or phasic sleep patterns, whereby you have a smaller amount of sleep at night and then take a short nap during the day. You will soon discover what works best for you.
It is important to create a setting around you which is conducive to sleep.
Make sure the colours of your wall are subtle in colour such as shades of lilac, blue, cream, pink, pale green as opposed to vibrant colours like yellow, red and orange.
Surround yourself with soft warm lighting rather than cool white, hints of blue or bright lighting.
The same goes for your bed linen. Ensure they are soft colours and that you find them comforting. Make sure your bed is comfortable for you too.
Putting a couple of drops of a calming essential oil on your linen, pillows or around your bed can also have a calming effect on your mood. inhale the scent in and out slowly to help you relax.
Make it a habit to go to bed at a similar time each night. That way your body is automatically prepared for it.
Start to unwind a couple of hours before you plan to go to sleep.
Avoid watching dramatic films or programmes
Try not to listen to loud or fast music, opt for quieter or soft music instead. For instance, ambient music has a much more calming effect.
Have a warm scented bath or shower.
Make a warm, milky or herbal drink, avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol in.
Switch off your portable devices or at least place your mobile phone on silent at a set time before you go to sleep, an hour before is perfect. This may seem daunting at first but it is a good way of training your brain to switch-off both mentally and physically and it will allow you to have some of that much needed me-time.
Reading also helps to slow down and can be a good sleep-aid.
Recall at least 3 positive things that have happened during the day. They don’t have to be big things, they could be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea and having a chance to sit and enjoy it peacefully or speaking to someone you haven’t seen in a while. This will place you in a positive and happy place in your mind.
Before you are about to drift off try slowly breathing in and out a couple of times. If you are inclined, try and get into a meditative state by saying a prayer, meditating or simply breathing deeply, this helps send you into sleep mode.
The Foetal position is considered to be the best position to enable sleep. This is due to its similarity of a baby in their mother’s womb and is a position of comfort and safety. Most people start off in one position and change to several, during the course of the night. There are no right or wrongs, go with what you feel most comfortable with.
Awaking in the night
This is very common. The less distractions you have the better. If you have to get up try not to start conversations or switching bright lights on as this will seem confusing to your inner body clock. Dim the lights and try to keep semi-awake as opposed to fully awake. Avoid looking at the clock, as this will make it harder to drift off again. Before you return to bed keep your feet firmly on the ground and stand up straight. This will help keep you present and grounded in the moment. Then slowly get back into bed, close your eyes and curl up in your usual sleep position, start breathing slowly and deeply and you’ll soon drift off.
All good things can take time, so be patient and persist. If it doesn’t happen the first night, keep trying for a few nights. Habits take time and getting into a new sleeping habit is no different. Be kind to yourself.
Once you start reaping the benefits of having better sleep, you will soon want to keep this going, especially as you’ll feel so great.
Others may even ask you what’s your secret?
Sleep – The best kept secret in the world.