So, last week we talked about the reasons why you may not be able to sleep and yes, there are a lot of them, but we covered the main ones that affect the falling-to-sleep process. If you need a reminder, you can find the post here. Today, we’re covering ways to help you to sleep peacefully.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Practise the art of meditation before bed to get you into a zen-like state of relaxation. It’s an effective way of clearing your mind of burning questions like ‘but were Ross and Rachel on a break?’ and ‘wouldn’t now be a great time to count the days until my summer holiday?’ Sit in a comfortable position and try to clear your mind of all distracting thoughts whilst breathing deeply, focusing on your breathing.
If you don’t have a bookshelf full of books waiting to be read, take a trip to the local library or a charity shop to find something that’s an easy read or you’ll be up for hours tying to make heads or tails of it, or will be so enthralled, you can’t put it down (for example, the DaVinci Code). Find something interesting that piques your interest. Or something so boring that it sends you to sleep… either works. Encyclopaedia of chemistry/ applied physics/ politics (delete as appropriate), we’re looking at you. Reading before bed us more relaxing than using a phone or watching TV as the lights given off by devices only keep us awake. If you prefer to relax in the dark, find find a podcast to listen to until you drift off. Warning: try to stay awake long enough to switch it off – this is a phone battery killer and we all know the dangers of leaving phones on charge overnight to overheat and potentially explode. (Yes, you read that right. Stay safe!)
After a busy day, it’s much easier to fall asleep. The exhaustion of staying active is enough to tire us out. If you find that you don’t do enough in a day, go for a jog or run on the spot in the living room in front of the TV. It’s all helpful when you’re trying to exhaust your body.
Sleep Inducing Scents
Have a warm, relaxing bath with a helping of scented bath salts. The most calming including lavender, chamomile, rose, jasmine and bergamot. We don’t all have time for a bath every night though, so luckily this works almost as well if you buy scented candles or perfume versions of the scents. Dab a bit on your wrists, rub them together and take lots of deep breaths.
Sleep Inducing Drinks
Cuddle up with a blanket and a hot chocolate to help you wind down after a long day. Other relaxing drinks include chamomile tea, water and milk. Many health companies sell a variety of night time drinks that boast they will help you to sleep. Have a browse online for some reviews and find the perfect drink to get you yawning. Try not to drink anything for one hour before bedtime to minimise sleep disruptions.
Write Thoughts Down – and Not On Your Phone!
We know it’s not easy to write in the dark but it is easier than forcing your brain to remember that you need to buy a new loaf of bread tomorrow. Many of us can store thoughts until the morning but it’s healthier to have a pen and paper by the bed to write distracting reminders and ideas down on.
It sounds strange, but yawning*, even when we’re not tired, tricks our brains into thinking we are ready for bed. Many people have never actually yawned out of boredom, despite the belief that this is the reason for doing so in the daytime. Whilst lying in bed or on the sofa, try your best to yawn and it might just be the sleep-inducer you need. Plus, it’s the most natural option available.
* Sorry, we know it’s compulsive and you probably yawned throughout reading this section. If you find it hard to yawn on cue, maybe read this section in bed tonight!
Hopefully our top tips will help you to enjoy all restful and refreshing night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!