Over the last year and a half or so let's say that sleep and I haven't really been friends. Sleep is so vital to your overall health. It has a major impact on your functioning, mood and cognitive abilities. I'm very sensitive to too much or too little sleep. Thats why over the last few years I have established a bedtime and a period of time I need to be lying in my bed for. Before I even hit the bed, I have a bedtime routine. I have tried and tested many techniques and adapted various behaviours to aid in my sleep. I thought I would share with you all what has worked for me. So below are my 5 ways to better sleep. Give them a try and let me know what works for you!
5 ways to better sleep:
1. Have a set bed time
This sounds like the obvious, but it's also the most important. It's so important for your body to have a set time for it to start shutting down. The body likes routine. It was about 5 years ago that I figured out what my optimal bed time is and now I really try to stick to it. I like to be in my bed by a certain time and then leave some time for some winding down, whether that is scrolling on my phone or doing some reading before I turn off the lights.
2. Take a relaxing shower near bed time
I have always been a morning shower type person. It's a great way to start off my day. But recently I have discovered the calming effects of a nice long warm shower in the late evening or early night. It relaxes my entire body, I can feel my muscles un-tensing and it relaxes my mind. So whether it be a long hot shower or a hot bath, allot some time at the end of your day and you will feel an automatic calmness take over your body.
3. Taking away clocks
A digital alarm clock is a staple in most peoples' bedrooms. We tend to have a need to be aware of time at all times. But my new experiment of not having a digital clock staring me in the face throughout the night is going well. It's great not to have the stress of being reminded over and over again what time it is, how much time you have left till you have to get up or just to sit there and watch the time literally go by on the clock. I mean sure I might check the time on my phone here and there, but it's a choice!
4. Avoid caffeine towards the end of the day
Having caffeine during the latter part of the day really effects me. I have cut down generally on caffeine in my life anyways, my stomach is way too sensitive to it and it was contributing to higher anxiety levels. I do have some green tea some mornings other than that, I really try not to have something too stimulating especially in the late afternoon and onwards. Instead drink some nice and relaxing teas closer to bed time, such as Rooibas tea or chamomile tea.
5. Use your bedroom for sleeping
This means don't use it for studying or doing work or watching tv. It should be the space that you associate with a good night's sleep and not stress. So if you have a study desk in your room I highly recommend moving it out. And not having a TV in your room helps you shut off and not be stimulated with visuals. Instead try winding down by reading!