You toss – you turn. You cannot seem to get comfortable or fall asleep easily. This happens night after night and you are feeling exhausted all the time – often nodding off during the day at work. Chronic lack of sleep is the major cause of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke.
You desperately want to get a full, restful night sleep and wake up feeling ready for your busy day. Although there are many medical solutions to sleep problems, you may not want to go down that path.
There are herbal offerings to assist with sleep, but more often than not, there are other reasons for you not being able to fall into a deep sleep. It is best to find the cause before seeking prescription solutions that may have a risk of dependency.
10 ways to get a great night’s sleep!
1. Take a good look at the room in which you sleep.
Is your sleeping space chaotic and messy? Do you like your bedroom? The way it is decorated, or generally laid out? Try a new setup – move the furniture. It may take a few times to get it right – Make it a space you love to be in. Is your bed the problem? Maybe you need a new mattress that is firmer or offers better support. Tidy up your space and put away anything lying around – clutter sucks out your energy. Do a thorough cleaning: dust and mop so it is nice and fresh. Put an aloe plant in your room to keep the air fresh and clean.
2. Get rid of the noise making and distracting phones and electronic devices.
Leave your phone in another room, out of earshot. Who cares if someone has a Facebook update at 3:00 am? Turn all your devices off or place them in silent mode. Those frequent ‘dings’ and ‘buzzes’ will interrupt your sleep and have you wondering ‘I wonder who that was? Was it important? I better check!’ You do not need that.
3. Read a book – seriously, a real book!
Rather than stimulating your mind with a movie or game on your iPad, just read a book. Even reading from an electronic book reader can stimulate your mind as it is backlit. Once you become drowsy from reading your regular book, you will turn off the light – and that is that – time to sleep! Find something that is calming or that you know will allow your mind to wander and relax.
4. Bath or shower at night, rather than in the morning.
There are numerous reports stating that bathing or showering at night is much better for the body than a rushed shower in the morning. This will leave you more time in the morning to have a proper breakfast and get ready! You can relax, take your time and go to bed feeling fresh and clean. As well, the hot water will sooth you and help you relax your body.
5. Place lavender in your room.
Scent plays a very important part of our mental well being. The scent of lavender has proven to assist in sleep by reducing anxiety and insomnia. Many pillows can now be purchased which are infused with the scent of lavender. Alternately, an essential oil infuser can be used in the room or even placing an actual lavender plant in your bedroom may help.
6. Use masks and earplugs to black out noise and light.
The iconic sleep mask is making a comeback – irregular work hours, ambient streetlights entering your room or the need for total darkness can be resolute by the use of a mask. They can come with cooling packs to reduce swollen eyes or padding for maximum comfort.
Earplugs will reduce external noises (for you city dwellers) or for those on a night shift to block out daytime/house noises. You may even want to use both to ensure you block out all disruptions, both audio and visual.
7. Clear your mind – or try a little meditation!
Simple meditation techniques may offer a healthy, drug-free way for you to ease yourself into a proper night’s sleep. Even a few minutes of focused quiet time will be of great help. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place – a place where you feel relaxed and happy.
8. Sleep in another room – if your partner is a noisy or disruptive sleeper
9. Turn off the TV!
A television will only keep you awake and stimulate your mind, preventing you from relaxing. The brightness of the screen, as well as the sound, will only engage you in the content. Turn it off, or remove it from the bedroom altogether!
10. Discover your natural sleep requirements.
Everyone is different – some of us need a lot of sleep, some very little. An experiment to try. When on vacation, go to bed when you are tired and wake up when your body wakes up. Do this for a few days. This will tell you what your body really needs. This will change over time due to age, activity or travelling to other timezones.
Consistency is also the key to a more peaceful sleep. Going to bed at the same time each night and setting your alarm for the same time each morning will train your body to rest when it is supposed to. Although this sounds difficult, once you follow a schedule for a few weeks it will become natural for you.
Be careful what you eat before you go to bed as well – have a non-caffeinated beverage (herbal tea) and do not eat after 8:00 pm as many foods can cause you to stay awake.
Your body and mind will adjust, and falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day will become a habit and you will feel the difference in your daily life. You may even want to keep a log of your sleep times and make mention of how you feel each day – are you refreshed? Still feeling tired? After 3 months, go back through the logs and see if you have improved.
BONUS: Regulate Your Sleep With Sleep and Wake Light Therapy
If the changing seasons is making it hard to fix your regular sleep routine, a sleep and wake light may just be your answer. Set up your sleep and wake time and the light will let your body know when it is time to sleep or get up with soft and gentle lighting in the evening and an gradual and natural rising light in the morning.
These lights not only help with your sleep/wake cycle but combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with a sunrise and sunset setting. More advanced lights offer snooze function, optional alarm beep and dimmer. You also get the option of setting the length of simulated sunset or sunrise between 20 to 90 minutes or use it simply as a dimmable bedside lamp. The gradually increasing light allows you to wake up naturally and more refreshed as opposed to being woken up by a loud alarm clock.
Ultimately, clearing our minds of daily troubles and stresses will allow us to sleep better.
That is often easier said than done, but by following a few of these recommendations you may be able to get the sleep you are seeking and be able to attack your day with full force. A more rested you is a better you. Be good to yourself – turn off that smartphone, turn off the TV. Take a hot bath and be a little selfish before you go to bed. You will be more productive, happier and have a better attitude with a peaceful night’s sleep. Your friends and family will be greateful to have you being your old self again!
When awake, try these light therapy to combat Seasonal Effective Disorder and stay active throughout the day.