We all need it but often don’t give it the time it deserves. Liggy Webb is here to help us get a good night’s sleep.
I certainly know when I don’t get a good night’s sleep: I really struggle the next day and find it hard to focus and get on tops of things. It can make me feel irritable and every little task feels like a such a big effort.
It also makes me feel less like exercising and reaching for quick fix sugary snacks and coffee, which in turn, have an impact on the next night’s sleep. It can be easy to get into a cycle of poor sleep and this can take its toll on our overall wellbeing and mental health.
When it comes to coping well and managing stress, quality sleep is at the very core of our ability to be resilient. Given the current situation we are experiencing and the associated anxiety and information overload getting a good night’s sleep can be very challenging.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality.
So, here are five ways to help you get the best rest…
Create a sanctuary for sleep
Ideally your bedroom needs to be somewhere that you associate with sleep. Wherever possible, remove distractions. It is far better to watch TV, check social media and eat in another room. This will allow you to fully relax
An increasing amount of sleep advice suggests keeping technology out of the bedroom altogether. The backlit ‘blue light’ displays on some gadgets suppress melatonin production which is the hormone that helps you sleep.
The suppression of melatonin can cause sleep disruption during the night too so the sooner you switch off technology before you go to sleep, the better.
Keep regular sleeping hours
Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset.
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality. Irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep.
If you struggle with your sleep, get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
Relax before you sleep
There are lots of things that you can do to relax before you go to bed. Here’s a tip for relaxation – focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath into your stomach and then out through your nose, making your out-breath longer than your in-breath. You can keep repeating this until you feel relaxed.
Offload your worries
When you have things on your mind that are perhaps making you anxious it is best to get them off your chest. Lying in bed and festering about things that may have upset you and playing them over and over in your mind can build up unnecessary stress.
A useful tip is to write down what is on your mind and create a cons and pros list. First of all, write down what is bothering you and then flip it over and think about a positive solution or identify the potential opportunity in the situation.
Avoid clock watching
Worrying about getting enough sleep can itself stop you sleeping. The best way to deal with this is to remind yourself that resting in bed and focusing on positive and pleasant thoughts is more productive than tossing and turning and looking at your alarm clock every few minutes. Occasional loss of sleep is not going to hurt you so getting worked up about it is not going to help.
If lack of sleep is persistent and it is affecting your daily life in a negative way it may be advisable to book an appointment to see your doctor, naturopath or a sleep specialist.