If we’re going to be at our best throughout the day, then there’s no getting around it: we need to have a full night of rest under our belts. If we don’t, then we’ll find that we’re more irritable, less able to focus, and essentially spend the whole day wishing we were in bed. And who wants that? And here’s the thing — though more is being asked of us than ever before, which means we need to have more energy, we’re actually getting less sleep than ever before. Though sleep is still a pretty big mystery, we are beginning to understand more about what will make it easier to get a full night of rest. Below, we take a look at fourteen tips that should help — at least one of them, anyway — to have a healthier relationship with bedtime.
It sounds ridiculous to say that you should use up all your energy when we’re spending our days doing so much, but it’s important to think about what type of energy you’re exerting. You might be tired from work, but that’ll likely just be mental energy if you’re working in an office. Your body hasn’t really been given a run out if you’ve driven to work and sat down at a desk all day. If this is the case, then look at doing something active in the evening, such as a run, long walk, or working in the garden. Just make sure it’s not too close to bedtime, otherwise, you’ll be alert.
If you’re going to fall asleep, then you need to be comfortable. While more or less everyone takes time to make sure their home decor is on point, many people fail to pay attention to their all-important bed set up. If you’re sleeping on an old mattress or you’re using old sheets, then they’re probably not of the quality you need to rest well. Look at getting a new mattress from www.360homeware.com.au/collections/mattresses, and also upgrade your sheets — no-one ever regrets it. It’s also worth thinking about your pillow situation. If you’ve got too many or not enough, then that’s going to affect your comfort levels.
You can’t switch from wide awake to the Land of Nod in an instant; it needs to be a gradual process. In your home, take a look at your lights. Your eyes can’t tell the difference between natural and artificial lighting. If your lights are too bright, then it’s akin to standing outside in the daylight, and who is tired then? Get rid of that big, overly bright overhead light and replace it with multiple side lamps. It’ll help to quieten your mind, and get it prepared for darkness.
You’ll also want to think about the overall atmosphere of your bedroom. Is it peaceful, and conducive to sleep? Or is it chaotic? Our surroundings have a huge impact on our state of mind, and if you’re trying to sleep in a room that is cluttered and dirty, then you’ll find it difficult to drift off. In the bedroom, it’s best to take the minimalist approach. Keep things simple, and your mind will have little to distract it.
One of the main causes of the rise in sleep conditions has been technology. In the past, our ancestors weren’t sitting around the campfire, staring into a stimulating, illuminated screen. Your smartphone, tablet, and computer are keeping your mind in a state of alertness — it’s just continually being stimulated (and you can understand: there’s a lot of good stuff on the web!). Experts recommend that you avoid screen time in the two hours before bed, in order to give your brain a chance to calm down. You’re not missing out on anything that won’t be there in the morning.
If you’re struggling to sleep, then even the little things will keep you distracted. Think about those times when you’re not sure if you need to pee – it’s so much harder to get to sleep! One often overlooked aspect is the temperature of the room. There is no “right” temperature you need: it’s just about whatever’s right for you. If that’s neutral, a little chilly, or a warm and cosy room doesn’t matter. Just think it over.
One of the problems of work in the modern world is that we’re always kind of there. We can be reached by phone, we check email, and so on. But while these things might seem small and unimportant, it affects our mind. As such, it’s important that you try to tune out of work once you leave. There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out what you’re going to do tomorrow as you’re trying to fall asleep. And it’s even worse if you’re turning over a matter that annoys you. Let it go!
One of the primary methods for a good night of rest, as recommended by the experts, is to keep your schedule stable. You should try to go to bed and rise at the same time. It might be difficult at first, especially the rising part if it’s earlier than you’d like, but you’ll get used to in a couple of weeks at most. When you get into bed, you’ll know what you’re there to do. Sleep!
Some people think that alcohol helps them to get to sleep. And it is true — you will technically fall asleep faster if you’ve had a couple of drinks, but it’s important to remember that the quality of your sleep (which is what’s important) will be inferior. People with alcohol in their system struggle to reach the REM sleep state, which is the good stuff. Plus, we can’t discount that if you’re drinking alcohol every night in the hope of falling asleep, then you’ll be at greater risk of alcohol dependence.
Who can function without coffee? The mind boggles — it just doesn’t seem possible. However, you’ll want to keep those coffees to just the morning. It’s tempting to have a coffee in the afternoon just to see you through the last hour of work, but it’s important to keep in mind how it’ll affect you later on. Caffeine can stay in the system for twelve hours, so you might be feeling that last cup of joe just as you’re trying to hit the hay. If you need a bit of energy, consider going for a walk around the block instead — it’ll work just as well.
People rightly love a daytime nap. Waking up feeling refreshed, and essentially dividing one day into two? Sign us up. However, it’s important that you’re turning that short nap into a full-on sleep session. If you’re sleeping for two hours, then you’re not going to be tired a few hours later. Keep naps limited to fifteen, twenty minutes or so. Or you can follow Thomas Edison’s method. He used to sleep in his chair with a steel ball in his hand. When the ball dropped, it was time to wake up — and you’ll still feel refreshed.
Oh life, it can be so difficult from time to time. Those relationships we have, if only they could run smoothly! Alas, it’s not like that. There’ll be days when we get pent up with anger following an argument with someone close. They’re necessary sometimes. But they won’t help you to sleep. Before you go to bed, get that anger out of you, be it through running, writing it out, or screaming into a pillow (not at the person you’re fighting with…).
We carry oh so much in our mind, and it’s not easy to just switch off just because we want to sleep. So give yourself a helping hand for entering that calm state. Meditation has been shown to be spectacularly good at helping us to overcome those thoughts that just won’t stop whizzing around our mind, and it’s so easy to do. You don’t need to take a course. Just sit in a quiet room, and focus on your breathing for ten minutes or so. If you find it difficult, you can follow an online video. You’ll find that you’re much calmer and ready to hit the hay afterwards.
There’s been a lot of research conducted into how we can sleep better, with good results. But it’s important not to overlook the classics just because they’re not new. They’ve been around for ages because they work, after all. If you have a cup of detoxing tea (without caffeine) and lose yourself in a book for an hour, you’ll find it much easier to sleep. You’ll be calm and relaxed and all the other good things we need to rest.
You don’t have to settle for a night without resting well. Take the tips above, keep at them, and get back to your best self.