Easy Ways To Help You Sleep – Part 2
Hi! Welcome to the last part of this two part blog on easy ways to help you sleep – aimed at helping you get enough good quality sleep.
Many people find it takes a while to get off to sleep, even though they feel shattered and often wake up the following morning feeling foggy headed and still tired.
This lack of sleep tends to lead to bad moods, irritability, headaches, over reactive behaviour, food cravings, increase in blood pressure, feelings of stress and overall general feelings of crapiness….
As I mentioned in part 1, my experience working within the notoriously anti-social and long hours of the film and event industries, wreaked havoc on my sleep and my health. My immune system suffered immensely and as a result of ignoring my body’s calls for attention for decades and I ended up with facing a cancer diagnosis.
So I can’t stress enough how important sleep is to good health!
We live in an environment with never ending to do lists… busyness equates with ‘success’….slowing down is almost seen as a weakness…especially with women trying to juggle the management of family, careers and homes.
Trying to switch from a highly active mode to a space of relaxation to allow sleep is tough…but in these 2 blogs I will show you easy ways to help you sleep as I continue to help you change your habits.
Getting enough and good quality sleep will help you win both your life and your health back!
Easy Ways To Help You Sleep
The best way you can help yourself get better, more restorative sleep is to create some better habits.
Basically good sleep is dependent upon 3 things:
- Preparation – creating good sleeping habits including your diet
- The environment where you sleep
- The right timing.
See Easy Ways To Help You Sleep – part 1 for the Preparation.
Today we will look at your sleeping environment and the right time to sleep. By simply creating good sleeping habits you will improve your health as of now!
The environment where you sleep
As I discussed in part 1, using gadgets such as tablets, mobiles and laptops before going to bed interferes with the natural circadian rhythms of the brain (our body clock). This confuses it into thinking it is say, 2 pm when it is 2 am. So, even if sleep occurs, it will not be as deep and therefore less restorative.
Additionally, having these items with their notifications popping up, will cause distraction and suck you back into using them. If you do need them in your bedroom, put them in airplane mode.
However, if you don’t need them, try unplugging all electronic devices around you as they could also be affecting your sleep. When an electric charge is generated, an electromagnetic field is created around it (EMF).
Over the past few years there have been increasing links to ill health issue and EMFs. We are made up of energy, as is everything in the universe, and although it’s still unclear what this energy field is doing to us physically, it does seem to make sense that our cells would respond to surrounding electromagnetic fields. There’s no conclusive evidence of harmful effects so far, but that’s not to say they’re of benefit. Why take the risk of having something affecting you whilst you sleep? Anyway, removing your gadgets will help reduce the temptation of using them in bed…
- Write it down
You’re lying there feeling like you’re about to drop off and then ‘bam’! You suddenly remember something you should have done or must do tomorrow. Your mind starts planning, plotting, scheduling, how, when and why you’re going to do it. Then the worry sets in, ‘what if you forget to do it?!’ So you now find yourself wide awake…..sigh.
So why not try this: keep a notebook and pen by your bed and simply jot down any of these thoughts, worries or plans so they’re out of your head. You can confidently know they wont be forgotten. Get things out of your mind and onto paper…close the book and relax knowing it’s taken care of.
How dark is your bedroom? For millennia we have been controlled by our body’s natural body clock- the circadian rhythms which are stimulated by light. When it gets light in the morning our brain tells our body to wake up. As it gets dark, our bodies want to wind down and sleep.
Ensure you have good heavy curtains or blinds on your windows if you find you’re waking up too early as it begins to get light. Or if you can’t do that, invest in a sleeping mask– it doesn’t have to be anything expensive, just go for a comfortable, natural fabric one – do this especially if you work shift work and have to sleep during the day.
So, you may have banished or at least turned off the gadgets from your bedroom but LEDS and standby lights can also have a distracting effect. If you have to have a TV or computer in your room, switch them off or at least cover up the standby or pulsating lights.
According to most studies, the ideal room temperature for sleeping is 68 degrees F. but of course everyone is different. Keeping your head out from under the blankets keeps it cooler and helps the body enter sleep…and breathe! Play around with different sheets / blankets to find your optimum comfortable temperature.
- Your Bed
Make sure your bed is comfortable! We spend approx. 24 years of our lives asleep, so be serious about your bed. Buy the right mattress and pick some pillows that work for you. Some people love a hard mattress, others a soft one. Some love the fluffiness of feather pillows, others the support of synthetic…go to a bed store and be Goldilocks for a couple of hours trying all of the combinations out!
- Reduce the negativity
Still lying in bed unable to sleep and now worrying about the state of our planet? Well it’s fine to have concerns about the world we live in but maybe you’re having news overwhelm– what with all the latest tragedies and worldwide political upheavals it’s not surprising you have concerns, but how many times a day do you tune into the news?
How many times a day are headlines thrust into your field of vision? How much are you absorbing, even subconsciously, as you catch a newspaper headline on passing?
Make a conscious effort to reduce this overload. When I was growing up we watched the news on TV once in the evening and then that was it. None of this 24hour news and constant dramatisation we now have. Give yourself a break from the negativity. Switch off the late night news. Stop watching the repeated reports.
Our bodies love routine so for the best quality sleep try and go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Even on your days off…yes…I KNOW a lie in is divine! And I’m not saying give them up for ever – sometimes your body craves it. But you may find that getting up at the same time on a weekend and then having a cat nap for an hour in the afternoon will help you catch up on some sleep and make your body feel better. You’re not disrupting your normal wake/sleep schedule.
A sleep and neurology specialist, Dr. Verma says “Many of my patients have such a different weekday/weekend wake schedule that they are experiencing the same sleepiness that people who are jet-lagged. Even two hours difference hurts, especially if they are already sleep deprived.”
Personally I find that if I lie in too much and then have a late breakfast my digestion is confused for the rest of the day!
So, there you have some further easy ways to help you sleep. Just trying even one will set you up for better sleeping habits.
I hope these post have been of use. Please do let me know by commenting below!
P.S. Here’s a track that I love that came on whilst I was writing this blog- the irony 🙂 Enjoy!