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Do you suffer with insomnia? Have trouble getting to sleep? Or wake up at 2am and cannot get back to sleep until 5am? Are your days and moods suffering as a result? You will need to put into practice the 8 best ways to sleep well.
8 Best Ways to Sleep Well
The past few nights I have been struggling again with sleeping. Throughout my life I have had months and almost years at a time when my sleep has been really disturbed with insomnia.
Please do note: If you are suffering from anxiety, have major worries or life events happening right now that you feel are interfering with your sleep patterns, then I think it is good advice right now for you to go and see your GP. Sometimes the sleep disturbances are part of a bigger issue. Please do go and have that conversation. Your GP can point you in the direction of other specialists who may be able to deal with those rather major causes.
They may also give you some medications to help, but drugs do only tend to be effective in the short term. Ongoing use of sleeping tablets can actually make the problem worse, as you can get dependent on the medication rather than developing good sleep habits.
Be reassured though, there are a lot of great things that you can do for yourself to help yourself to get the best nights sleep possible.
1. Take a Sleep Diary
Record your sleep patterns over the course of a week or fortnight. Record when you wake up and when you go back to sleep. There are even sleep monitoring phone apps that could do this for you. (and even record your partner’s snoring – always a good one to play back to them!)
This gives you a true idea of what is going on. Rather than making assumptions and stressing over what little sleep you have had, you may find that you are getting 6.5 hours a night after all (which is well within healthy limits). It is always useful if you do go to your GP to have a record of how poor your sleep is. And it may reassure you, which will help you to relax more.
2. And…Then Stop Clock Watching
Once the recording period is over, stop watching the clock when you wake up. Don’t have your phone next to the bed. Turn the LED alarm clock against the wall, or even keep it at the other side of the room. Waking up and checking the time can become a really negative habit, as it reinforces the stress that you are not getting enough sleep. Break this habit by not caring what time it is. If it is dark, you can go back to sleep.
Keeping the alarm clock at the other end of the room can help you get up too. Have you ever tried turning the snooze button off from 6 feet away?
3. Make the Room Sleep Friendly
Your bedroom needs to be as comfortable and quiet as it can be for sleeping. A cooler room is better at night, as it encourages our bodies to shut down and rest. Do make sure you have a blanket if it gets too cool. Block out lights and sleep in total darkness as this is when our body sleeps best. The hormone melatonin rises in our bodies as it gets dark, signalling that it is time for rest. Melatonin production is inhibited by light, so sleeping with lights on can really confuse our bodies natural rhythm.
Also, don’t have a TV in your room. Sorry. Your bedroom is for sleeping and sex. If you use your bedroom for watching TV, gaming, eating and using your laptop, it doesn’t help your brain connect the relationship of your bed and sleeping.
It is best to not spend any time in front of a screen for the hour before you go to bed, as the light can confuse your brain into staying awake. So turn off the telly or computer, put away the tablet or phone and relax for that last hour.
Is your room too hot? Try my ways to stay cool on hot nights
4. Eat the Right Things at the Right Time
Avoid caffeine and nicotine (cola, coffee, red bull, cigarettes and even chocolate) 4-6 hours before bedtime as these are stimulants.
Alcohol should also be avoided, as it does act as a relaxant initially, but then disrupts the quality of your sleep.
A healthy balanced diet can help you sleep well, but also make sure you do not eat too heavy a meal just before bed. Some people like a light snack before bedtime. And a warm glass of milk isn’t an old wives tale. It contains tryptophan, which helps to induce sleep. Add a little nutmeg too.
5. Get Some Regular Rituals.
It helps to train your body and mind to expect sleep to be forthcoming. Get into a night time routine…
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Get up at the same time every day EVEN on weekends and holidays.
- Do some relaxing stretches or breathing exercises.
- Sit calmly reading
- Have a cup of herbal tea
6. Have a Nightly Bath or Shower
Research shows that a bath or shower an hour before bedtime can help you sleep. The body temperature gets raised in the bath/shower, then you start to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops. Maybe try adding a lavender shower gel or body spray, as this is a calming aromatherapy oil ( Please note that oils are not recommended if you have certain medical conditions or in pregnancy)
7. Get up And Try Again
If you feel like you have just been lying there for half an hour or so, do get up and do something calming or boring.
When I was pregnant, this used to happen to me all the time. It used to amaze me how productive that I could be when I was not sleeping.
Do some laundry. Read something boring. Maybe try a warm milk drink. Then return to bed and try again.
8. Avoid Napping Through The Day
It may be hard if you are tired, but avoid napping if possible. Or if you have to make it a power nap of 20-30 minutes before 3pm, or you just risk making this a vicious circle. Again the ideal nap time is the subject of much debate.
So, I hope that these 8 best ways to sleep well has helped. I would love to know if you have any further thoughts or comments. Tell me below, or contact me on social media. I hope you are getting your best sleep ever!
Did you know that lack of sleep can affect weight loss? Find out more here!