Sleep is an underrated necessity. A good night can leave us refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. On the flipside, a few nights of tossing and turning can make us long for the sweet release of death. No one enjoys going to work or socialising on no sleep, but the modern world seems intent on throwing obstacles into our path, making the prospect of decent sleep a distant, unattainable dream.
If sleepless nights are getting you down, never fear. By making a few easy changes you'll be getting the shuteye you deserve in no time at all. Go on, give it a try—snoozing definitely doesn't mean losing.
Our bedroom should be a place of quiet reflection. There is no way this can be achieved if the noise and drama of the outside world keeps invading your space. Invest in windows that are sound insulated, especially if you face a main road or live in the centre of town.
It's also important to remember that a lot of distracting noises can come from inside the home. Turn all electronic devices off before going to bed, make sure no taps are dripping, and use earplugs just to be safe.
If insomnia is preventing you from drifting off, don't just lie there and suffer—this will only make it harder to get to sleep! Stop worrying about how tired you will be (easier said than done, we know, but trust us on this one), get out of bed and distract yourself for a while.
Make a hot honey and lemon drink, sit down on the sofa with a blanket and a nice but slightly boring book, and play some relaxing, meditative music. Let yourself be lulled gently to sleep, and go with it wherever you are… unless you're in the bathtub, of course!
We know how tempting it is to use the bed as a work space, entertainment area and dining table, but remember that this part of your home should be for sleeping and nothing more.
By working, playing and eating in your bed, you are subconsciously forming an association in your brain between 'bed' and 'doing really fun, enjoyable stuff.' This makes it harder to switch off once you get under the covers, as your brain is still active and engaged. Break this cycle and form a new pattern of thought—bed is for sleeping only, and once you tuck yourself in it's time to snooze.
Our mobile phones are now pretty much an extension of ourselves, but that doesn't mean you should take them into the bedroom with you. Even five minutes of browsing Facebook or Instagram before bed can wake up your brain and send it into overdrive, and the blue LED lighting from the screen can even mess with your circadian rhythm and sleeping pattern. Do yourself a favour—put the phone in a different room well before you go to sleep, and don't check it until the next morning.
This goes for all devices, so don't think you can get around this rule by playing with your laptop or TV instead—be strong and leave them all in the living room!
Room temperature is a vastly overlooked factor when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. Somewhere between 15.5 and 20 degrees is the optimum, so play around with the air conditioning and heating until you find your perfect balance. If in doubt, find a professional who can fit a new air con unit for you.
The effects of caffeine can last for up to six hours after ingestion. That's six hours of potential twitching in sleep-deprived agony if you drink a coffee right before bed. Don't torture yourself—limit your caffeine intake to one or two cups in the morning.
If you really can't bear the thought of taking your TV out of the bedroom, then at least try turning it off at least an hour before bed and reading a book instead. Doing this will stop your brain from being overstimulated, leaving you more relaxed and able to drift off.
The benefits of a nice hot bath can never be underestimated. Fill your tub, pour in some lavender oil and dim the lights. Sit back and relax as you soak, and let your muscles release the tension they've been holding all day.
We all love cuddling up to our pets, but is it really helpful to do so at night? Our pets might be cute, but they do have an annoying tendency to wake up at 3am and bug us for cuddles. Give them their own bed in a separate room, and shut your door at night. You might experience a couple of nights of sleeplessness as you and your pet adjust to the change, but in the long-term this decision will only be beneficial for you.
This tip might sound obvious, but it can be a lifesaver—literally! Make sure you pop to the bathroom right before you go to sleep. This way, you won't be woken up by your own bladder, and you'll avoid taking a perilous nighttime walk down the corridor, which could be fraught with trip hazards! Stay safe—pee before you sleep.
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