Has sleep been elusive lately? Sometimes it’s not that you can’t get a bit of well deserved shuteye, but instead it can be a hard to fall into a deep slumber.
Instead of feeling refreshed, you wake up weary or restless. Sound familiar?
Was it the beef stroganoff you had for supper? A work presentation you have been stressing about? Not feeling powered up in the morning can make you feel helpless and even a little bit ratty,
I for one haven’t been great at getting to sleep. Once I’ve actually fallen asleep, I’m not too bad. But drifting off can sometimes feel really difficult. A buzzing mind and the old tossing and turning – it drives me nuts!
So today’s blog post is dedicated to one important topic: sleeping well.
Studies have shown that working on your sleep hygiene, which is another term for healthy sleeping habits, can change your daily life for the better. It makes sense because catching ZZZs is all about refueling for the following day. If you’re not restoring your body, mind, and energy through proper sleep, something has got to give at some point.
Before we hit the list, it’s worth noting that if there is an underlying bigger issue, like depression, it’s good to seek help from professional sources or guides that directly focus on depression and sleeping. A good place to look for these include sites like BetterHelp.
Take a look at these top 5 tips below which are recommended by sleep experts for that quality sleep we all want and need!
1. Have a Regular Bedtime and Wake-Up Time
Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed at the same hour each night and wake up at the same hour each morning. Be consistent on weekends, too. Routine – in this case – is really good for you!
You can also create a bedtime ritual that lasts for 30 minutes to an hour. Include activities that are calming, such as showering, journaling, reading, or meditating. Place your gadgets out of sight if that’s possible. I always put my phone on aeroplane mode, which prevents the temptation to start scrolling.
Establishing a routine can hugely help regulate your sleep-wake cycle, so it’s worth getting into one as soon as you can. It’s like training your brain, which benefits from repetition, to know when it’s time to doze off and when to get up.
2. Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress and Pillows
One potential reason why you are feeling distressed in your sleep is an uncomfortable sleeping space. It could be that your mattress is too firm or soft. Or perhaps it’s showing signs of wear, such as sagging. A sagging mattress can pose additional problems, such as soreness and stiffness. If it’s not yet due for replacement, identify the cause and learn how to fix a sagging mattress.
Pay close attention to your pillows too, and ask yourself are your pillows straining your head and neck? They may not be aligned with your sleeping position. Use a low loft if you snooze on your stomach, a medium loft if you lie on your back, and a high loft if you prefer to sleep on your side.
I’ve also switched my top pillows with duck feather pillows too, which has hugely been helping lately!
3. Exercise Every Day
Regular exercise not only boosts your strength and endurance, but also enhances your sleep quality. Experts suggest doing light cardio or strength training early on it the day, which can be anything from a gym work out to a dance class, to swimming. Vigorous activities can pump you up for the day when you need to get things done, leaving you drained enough in the evening. Naturally, tiredness will put you to sleep without any fuss.
On the other hand, avoid heavy exercise near bedtime. Its energising effects can counter the body’s preparation for drifting off. Try some relaxing stretches or gentle yoga poses. If it keeps you awake longer, move your practice in the morning or afternoon.
4. Avoid Ingesting Alcohol or Caffeine Before Bed
Alcohol is a sleep-inducing substance. Caffeine, usually found in coffee and tea, can keep you awake for extended hours. Ingesting both close to bedtime may result in two different, but obvious events. Both can negatively affect your sleep quality.
Alcohol can reduce while caffeine can disrupt your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Sleep can be divided into non-REM and REM. While NREM allows the body to repair bones, muscles, and tissues, REM sleep is essential in its contribution to:
Some researchers believe that dysfunctional REM sleep can cause you to feel sluggish during the day.
5. Keep a Sleep Diary
Tracking your sleeping patterns and habits can help you figure out if something’s wrong. If anything, writing can lead to clarity, which is why a lot of people tend to keep notebooks by their bed and write down their thoughts before getting some shut eye,
It could be worth doing the same thing in the morning, but noting down your sleep patterns from the previous evening to keep note.
You may also recognise which non-sleep choices and actions are contributing to your poor sleep quality. You can use these details to devise a game plan. If your problem doesn’t stem from a condition, mental or physical, then a sleep diary can help you fix things on your own.
However, if you’re battling with chronic insomnia or depression, it’s best to consult a specialist. Treating sleep and psychiatric disorders may overlap. And your doctor can provide you with external help.
Don’t stop with the sleep log, though. Your sleep specialist may ask you to keep one anyway.
These tips and tricks to sleep well are all part of keeping to a good self-care. practice. Why not try following each one in your own time, and assessing if they contribute to a better sleep pattern.
Just remember to take it one night at a time. Hopefully, after getting into a healthy sleep routine, you’ll slowly start to ease back into a better relationship with sleep, which in turn will result in renewed energy and a brighter, more energetic take on life!