I’m in no way an expert on sleep, insomnia or lifestyle issues but I used to really struggle with falling asleep most nights. I blame my old art student uni lifestyle for this as I pulled many an all-nighter painting, sewing or scribbling down my mad thoughts. It was fun for a while but it really screwed up my sleeping pattern long after I graduated.
I miss that routine from time to time as I was certainly more creative past 2am but I definitely don’t miss my inability to get up before noon and the groggy feeling that comes with a lack of sleep.
Here’s how I helped myself get a damn good night’s sleep.
1. Get into a bedtime routine
All of the tips listed could formulate your bedtime routine or ritual, but I just wanted to highlight how important a routine is as it teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times. It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
Whether it’s taking off your make-up, laying out your outfit for the next day or having a warm bath, doing the same thing(s) every day before you hit the hay is a good way to ease your body into shutting down into sleep mode. List writing is also an excellent way to rid your brain of distractions if you worry about upcoming tasks.
2. Read a good book
Once I’ve got in bed, I’ll often read and I find that this helps me to feel relaxed and clears my mind because I’m distracted. I find that after I’ve read a fair few pages I naturally start to feel sleepy. But finding a good read could prove to be a struggle!
Stuck for something to read, try Buzzfeed’s article about 53 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down should keep you engaged.
3. Try a sleep tea
I never thought a tea that claims to induce sleep would actually work but I’ve found one that does the job! Yogi bedtime makes me feel relaxed in a non-drowsy way. Every time I’ve had a cup of this before bed I’ve managed to fall asleep within half an hour but I don’t recommend using it after you’ve been out on the booze or if you’ve had a lot of caffeine beforehand as it won’t have the same affect.
I got my Yogi Bedtime tea from Discount Supplements who sell an array of herbal teas and sports supplements at affordable prices. I’ll definitely be buying some more when I run out of this batch.
4. Do some gentle exercise before bed
I’ll often do 5-10 minutes of gentle resistance training or yoga before I get ready for bed. Stretching out my muscles makes me feel physically tired and declutters my mind.
5. Put a block on tech or TV after 8pm
I used to swear by having the TV on quietly to get me off to sleep, but studies have shown that distractions such as TV and other tech in the bedroom actually in what should be a relaxing environment weaken the association between bedroom and sleep. Leave phones, laptops and tablets downstairs and consider removing the television from your room if you’ve got into the habit of switching it as soon as you get into bed.
6. Cut caffeine after 8pm or earlier if you can bear it
At the weekends if I have a fair few vodka diet cokes I know I’ll be wide awake at 3, 4am. That’s because of the amount of caffeine in coke. I’ve also noticed that if I drink cups of tea close to bed time I’ll struggle to nod off or even feel tired. Caffeine is a stimulant and if you drink it close to the time that you want to fall asleep you’ll be alert and far from tired. People drink a strong cup of coffee or tea in the morning to wake themselves up so it’s seems completely ridiculous to drink caffeine before bedtime.
7. Keep your room clean and tidy
I admit it. I’m messy and I probably always will be. However, my ability to tidy up has got A LOT better as I’ve got older but I’m still no home maker. My student room used to be an absolute state filled with ongoing projects and clothes strewn everywhere. I’m very much of the opinion that a tidy space equates to a tidy mind, so the amount of clutter around my bed definitely affects my subconscious. Now I live my boyfriend I have to keep our shared space neat and tidy which has been a challenge but in a way, living with someone has helped me to clean up my act as it were.
Have you got any rituals you carry out before bed? I’d love to hear them 🙂