When you go to bed, hoping for some respite from the day’s duties, does it take an uncomfortably long while to drift off to dreamland? Sleep is a basic, essential physiological need which has a direct influence on your mental, physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, a lack of sleep negatively impacts your ability to think, your memory, your emotional state in day-to-day situations and even your weight. If you find yourself tossing, turning and frustrated that sleep remains elusive, we have good news for you. With a few simple but effective alterations to your routine and sleep habits, you will be surprised by the positive changes you will see in both your sleep quality and performance throughout the day.
Be in sync with your circadian rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is what causes you to feel active and drowsy at the same times every day. It is your body’s ability to regulate its activity cycles based on the external stimulus of light and darkness. By paying attention to the signals your body gives, you will be able to fall asleep on time consistently. Being in tune with your natural sleep-wake cycle and regularising the times at which, and the number of hours, you sleep, will ensure you wake up bright and ready for the following day. Perhaps napping late in the evenings is messing with your sleep rhythm? Either shift your naps to early in the afternoon or fight the drowsiness altogether and go to bed earlier than usual. While it takes some time to get into a proper sleep schedule, once your mind and body realise that you are meeting their daily rest requirements, you will feel a boost in energy and productivity that knows no bounds.
Get ready way before bedtime
One of the most overlooked tips on falling asleep is to make sure you prepare for bedtime way in advance. You can start preparation from the moment you wake up. How you structure your schedule has a significant impact on how quickly, and deeply, you sleep. There are multiple key points to keep in mind:
- Aside from the obvious immediate increase in activity levels and brain function after high-intensity exercise, it does wonders in tiring you out enough to fall fast asleep at night. Like all habits, it is crucial that one exercises consistently to reap its full benefits. However, vigorous exercise, whether cardio or strength training, best be over and done with 3-4 hours before you plan on hitting the sack to give your body time to cool down.
- Avoid having too heavy a dinner a couple of hours before bed. Try keeping your last meal light and healthy, and give yourself time to digest before heading to sleep.
- Be smart about your caffeine and alcohol intake, and those who have a hard time drifting off should try not to have either within 6 hours of bedtime.
- To prevent overstimulating your brain and putting your circadian rhythm out of whack, stay away from the piercingly bright screens of your phones and televisions for at least an hour before you crash.
Set up the perfect sleep environment
A bedroom should be arranged to be conducive to allowing your exhausted brain to be in harmony with its environment and therefore sending it strong signals to enter the dream realm. A well-ventilated room with a cool, ambient temperature of around 18° C is usually ideal for sleep. Soft and comfortable pillows on a mattress suited to your needs allow the body to settle into a feeling of ease and restfulness. Darken the room as much as possible by switching off lights and pulling down window covers, as darkness helps stimulate the initiation of the sleep cycle of your body.
Winding down after a busy day of work is not only enjoyable but also vital for good zzzs. Switching on some soft, slow music and working your way through a full body stretch for around 15 minutes can relax your tired muscles, calm your racing mind and catapult you into sleep mode. Deep breathing exercises while visualising positive, peaceful images in your mind’s eye will have you unwinding in no time. Schedule the next day before you sleep so that you are mentally relaxed. Having it planned out, even writing it down on paper, helps avoid anxieties and thoughts about the next day from rampaging through your mind and keeping you awake.
Turn to nature
We are inexplicably yet profoundly connected to nature in so many ways, especially when it comes to remedies. Some regular users of sleep oils and essential oils that support healthy sleep habits swear by their effects. The use of these oils in diluted forms or as creams for their medicinal purposes goes back to ancient times. Essential oils like lavender, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, chamomile and frankincense are just a few that are being widely used to induce sleep. These have properties that lower stress, calm and relax the body and mind through aromatherapy. Their sleep-promoting qualities and ability to improve mental and physical wellness has been scientifically proven, resulting in their widespread use for this purpose. These can be added to pre-bedtime baths, dispersed through diffusers, sprayed as a diluted mist or applied directly to the body in a diluted form and massaged into pressure points like wrists and temples.
If you find that these techniques do not work then, perhaps, this indicates a more profound, underlying psychological issue that needs to be addressed. Sleeping pills or other medications to help with any sleep issues should only be taken on a doctor’s advisement. If you would like to inquire about these, the experts at Click Pharmacy are available on a 24-hour basis for any service or help you require.
If you are experiencing sleep deprivation that is taking a toll on your mind and body, it is necessary to take the measures needed to fix this. By implementing these practical tips you will be able to say goodbye to sleep disruption, and hello to serene and refreshingly deep sleep all night long