10 Tips For Super Sleep
Let’s face it; who isn’t struggling with their mental health one way or another these days? Whether it’s general anxiety, stress, financial worries or loneliness, all of these things can manifest as sleep disturbances or insomnia. The double blow is that sleep deprivation, as anyone who’s ever experienced it can confirm, only serves to make our worries seem even more insurmountable. This can lead to a vicious cycle of tiredness and anxiety.
Having enough good quality sleep increases our ability to look at our problems rationally and find solutions or coping strategies. A tired brain tends to do the opposite, making us feel fractious and overwhelmed.
As well as our mental health; sleep is key to good physical health; so it’s really worth investing the time and energy into re-setting your sleep cycle. With this in mind I’ve researched the top tips out there to help you get some precious shut-eye.
- Remember you are not alone! Sometimes lying awake staring at the ceiling can be very lonely, leaving you feeling you are the only one going through this. According to Nytol; in reality almost a third of adults struggle with insomnia from time to time. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic; sleep disturbance is normal! However, if your insomnia persists for longer than four weeks it’s a good idea to speak to your GP for some advice.
- Take some exercise each day. Research has shown that as little as ten minutes per day of brisk cardiovascular exercise can drastically improve sleep quality.
- Avoid caffeine and eating heavy meals in the few hours before bedtime. Indigestion is no fun when you’re trying to nod off!
- Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. The best conditions for restful sleep are cool and dark. Clear away clutter and try to create a clean, relaxed space.
- Create a sleep routine, by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day. This will help restore your circadian rhythm and let your mind and body know what is expected of them.
- Turn off screens and devices at least an hour before bed. Studies show that the light emitted from phones and tablets triggers our brains into thinking they need to be alert instead of relaxed.
- The importance of winding down before bed shouldn’t be underestimated. The NHS website advises taking a warm bath, doing some gentle yoga and possibly writing a to-do list before you go to bed. This should help you clear your mind and feel prepared for the day ahead.
- Get to know your ideal sleep set-up. Some people like silence, some sleep better with a bit of white noise. Some people respond well to essential oils like lavender, known for their sleep-inducing qualities, whereas other people might find scents too stimulating. It can be useful to keep a sleep diary in order to identify what is and isn’t working for you. There are a range of different tips out there from experts and amateurs alike, it’s worth spending time identifying the tricks and routines that might work for you.
- Accept that some nights; it might just not happen. Instead of lying there with your heart racing worrying about how tired you’re going to be tomorrow; try to accept what’s happening and tell yourself it’s not a big deal. Have faith that you can get through the day ahead with less sleep than you’d ideally like.
- Getting into a daily meditation or mindfulness routine can be a healthy habit to get into if your sleep problems reoccur regularly. Headspace is a great website for advice on all things mental health and they have lots of fantastic resources and podcasts to help you clear an overactive mind at the end of the day.