Something we all have in common is sleep. We all do it but some of us find it easier than others.
Sleep is important for various reasons. Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, a higher risk of heart disease or stroke, depression, anxiety, lower immunity, high blood pressure and the list goes on.
You don't need to memorise all that, just remember sleep is good for you and it's important to put focus into getting a full night of it.
Many people suffer from insomnia and have a really hard time getting to sleep. 90% of the time this is stress or lack or lack of routine. If you feel that life is normal, there is no stress or problems in life and routines haven't changed, then it may be something physical. I then advise booking an appointment with a doctor to talk about it.
But for 90% of you reading this it is because of things like stress, pressure, anxiety and changes in life that stop us from getting a full night. If this is you, keep reading as I'm going to list my top tricks and tips so you can drift away into sleep naturally and easily.
1) Have a routine
Creating a routine for yourself can help with getting to sleep. Routines help ease the mind and create a sense of familiarity. This will create new habits of going to sleep on time and waking up on time.
A routine could be the following.
7pm - Eat dinner
8pm - Call friends or family
9pm - Watch TV
10pm - Take a bath
10.45pm - Read in bed
11pm - Lights out
Your routine may look very different from this, but I always advise getting off your phone/screens as early as possible. Then to make all activities before bed relaxing and calm.
2) Bedroom is for sleeping
Try to associate your bedroom with sleep, avoid doing work, eating or watching tv in your bed. Keep it a place for sleep (and sex).
When you start working or eating in bed you will find getting to sleep harder. The brain will associate the space with other activities not just sleep.
One of the problems that people in London face is that living costs are high, very high! Because of this many young adults live in a house share. This means that the only space they have is the bedroom, everywhere else is shared space. This usually turns a room into a bedroom/study/entertainment space/ dining room.
My advice is to try and separate the room into dedicated spaces as much as you can. If all you have is a bed, try having daytime pillows and cover that you take off when you go to sleep.
These little changes can help!
A big part of getting to sleep is relaxation. Letting go of the stress and strain of the day and drifting off into a deep sleep.
You could try some of the following before going to bed:
PMR (progressive muscle relaxation)
Stretching or yoga
Listening to a story
Reading a book
We have a relaxation audio for you, it's free! It's 10 minutes but I promise its enough time to help you relax your way into sleep. Go to download.
How ever you choose to relax be sure to fit it into your nightly routine.
4) Screens and blue light
Anything with a screen is going to stimulate your brain and get you thinking.
Be strict with yourself and put down all phones and computers at least 1 hour before bed.
I would also suggest putting your phone on 'Do not disturb'. This will stop notifications at night that will distract you and make you want to look at your phone.
You will notice a difference.
5) If you can't sleep leave the room.
When people can't sleep they start getting frustrated, this results in tossing and turning in the bed with you 'trying' to sleep. Trying doesn't help or work. If anything it puts pressure on sleep and it won't come.
I advise if you can't sleep, get up and leave your room for a bit. Stop associating the space with lack of sleep. Go drink some water, then sit in another room and read a book. Go back to bed when you feel yourself drifting off, or when you wake up with a book on your chest!
6) Don't worry
Many people do what I call, 'the count down', it looks like this...
'right if I go to sleep now I get 8 hours, great!'
An hour goes past
'7 hours is okay I can work with that, just need to sleep now'
An hour goes by
'Okay, I'll be really tired tomorrow but I can survive'
Another hour goes by
'Why am I still awake? I need to sleep, work will be horrible if I don't'
Another hour passes
'It's going to be a terrible day tomorrow now, can I at least get a few hours??'
Another hour goes by
'OMG I'm still awake! Is there any point in sleeping now?'
'I might as well get up and have breakfast now!'
Counting down isn't helping you. If anything it just adds more stress when going to sleep.
Follow the other advice in this article and also remember this;
It's ok! If you don't sleep you will survive. You will feel tired but you will survive. Don't stress about what hour it is, if you can't sleep get up and do something relaxing away from your bed.
7) Diet and exercise can really help with getting a good nights rest.
Exercise is always good and will help. Exercise releases endorphins, this will make you feel more relaxed and have less stress. Being tired in your muscles from exercise also make it easier for you to fall asleep.
Exercise releases endorphins, this will make you feel more relaxed and have less stress. Being tired in your muscles from exercise also make it easier for you to fall asleep. Try to fit some exercise into your daily routine.
Having a balanced diet will also help with sleep. Trying to have less sugar and caffeine will aid sleep. Have a look at what you are eating and see if there are any changes you would like to make.
8) Have your phone away from the bed.
If you have your phone next to you it's easy to quickly pick it up and distract yourself with social media. Have your phone out of arms reach when you go to bed. Essentially remove any temptations that will keep you awake.
9) A Clean room.
It's a good idea in general to have a clean and tidy room.
Most people feel less stressed if they are in a clean and tidy environment and this helps you sleep.
Make a habit of making your bed each morning, clear cloths away, keep the sheets clean regularly and once a week do a deep clean.
Tidy place, tidy mind!
It is worth investing in lighting that has warm and dimmer light. Harsh bright light will keep you awake.
Having dimmer lights in the evening will help your body produce melatonin.
The last activities you do in the evening (taking a bath for example) should be in dim light.
There are my 10 top tips to getting a full nights sleep.
There are other things you can try or add in, such as;
Whatever you choose to add in, just make sure that is is calming and doesn't stimulate your mind too much.
Of course, you can get in touch with me if you think your sleeping issue is more severe or you can get in touch with your doctor if you are concerned about your health and sleep.
Thanks for reading :)