I spent a recent weekend reading the book ‘The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time’ by Arianna Huffington and it gave me the idea for this blog topic.
If you haven’t read the book then I urge you to buy it now in paperback form. That way you can read it in bed without the distraction and added stimulus of it being on your phone.
I know that I’m a morning person so I don’t struggle to get to bed early and get a solid 7-9 hours sleep a night – at the weekend in particular.
Yet we live in a society that sacrifices sleep to fit in everything else that we have to do. The end result being that far too many people struggle to get a decent night’s sleep. There are too many distractions and it’s all too easy to continue watching your favourite programme on Netflix. Or perhaps you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and continue checking your social media when you’ve gone to bed? Not only will an hour have passed before you know it but you’ll find it hard to get to sleep because you haven’t unwound from the day. As this Huffington Post article discussing the book says: ‘Advances in technology have allowed us to pull back the curtain on what’s going on while we sleep, but technology is also one of the main reasons our relationship to this fundamental part of our existence has become so compromised.’
So, if you wake up feeling tired, grumpy, irritable and wishing that your company offered a duvet day then follow the tips below to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Getting some exercise during the day, if only a walk as part of your commute to work, will help prevent you feeling fidgety later. It will also help you unwind at the end of the day.
2. Bed Time
When you’re deciding what time to turn out the lights work out what time you need to be up and then add at least 7.5 hours to lights out time. The amount of sleep needed will vary for each individual. I’ve now worked out that I need 8.5 hours each night to feel properly refreshed come morning.
3. Remove Electronics
Remove the TV, phone and any other devices that may emit a sleep-disturbing blue light. That will also prevent you from ‘quickly’ checking Facebook and losing an hour before you can blink.
4. Have a routine
There’s a good reason why so many parents try and have a routine for their children of bath, milk, stories and lights out. Because it works.
As adults, we don’t feel that we need such a routine. But if you’re struggling to get to sleep then there’s surely no harm in trying one to see if it helps? Try having a bath with Epsom salts, spraying your pillow with some lavender spray and reading a paperback or doing some mediation before settling down.
We all know that caffeine, alcohol and sugar can keep us wired so try reducing the amount that you drink and eat especially late in the afternoon and evening. Cutting back on the sugar is definitely the biggest challenge for me as I do enjoy some post-dinner chocolate and Netflix. But my sleep certainly suffers as a result. I now have a Pukka Night Time tea to help me get ready for bed.
6. The Bedroom
If it’s possible, remove any objects that create light and get black out curtains or blinds. They’ll help with the earlier sunrises during the summer. Check the temperature of your room and make sure it isn’t too warm or cold as either may cause you to wake up.
7. Massage or Reflexology Treatment
As a treat, I sometimes have an amazing lady come to the house on a Friday evening and do a reflexology session. I sleep so well after, plus it helps me turn off the computer at 6pm and unwind from the week. Why not see if there is someone in your area that does home visits or a spa that is local to you?
8. Turn off the brain
The biggest challenge for most of us is how to turn off the brain and not wake up in the middle of the night worried whether you sent that email to your boss that you were supposed to.
There are a several things you can do that can help with this.
Firstly, do a brain dump and write down everything that’s on your mind at that moment. Whether it’s what you’ve got to do at work the next day or remembering to make lunch for the kids. By writing it down you reduce the likelihood of waking up worrying about it during the night.
The second strategy is to start practising meditation. If you’re new to this I recommend trying the App ‘Headspace’ as it has a free 10-day trial.
Lastly, start writing a gratitude journal and record three things that you are grateful for that day. This will help put everything in your life into perspective and help you relax and sleep better.
NB: If you haven’t read Arianna Huffington’s other book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life then I recommend that too.
If you’ve got some great tips on how to get a good night sleep then comment below. I’d love to hear them.