Whether we are looking for ways to stay young, lusting after a little more concentration or just searching out reasons we feel so grumpy in the day, the chances are you will eventually get to sleep. Sleep is one of the biggest factors in a number of common issues. It is important for both our bodies and our minds and even when we think we are getting plenty of it, the chances are we aren’t getting quality sleep.
Firstly we need to get our head around something quite important. Better sleep is more important than more sleep. There has been quite a bit of research recently on the amount of sleep a person gets and it has been proved that the quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity.
So, where to start. Firstly you need to look at your mattress. From memory foam to organic there are loads of amazing options that offer you better support when you sleep. Although one of the most personalised sleep experiences you can get is delivered to you by a bespoke made latex bed, click here to see it and consider investing in one. What you sleep on is a pretty important place to start.
Start tracking your sleep, and find your perfect bedtime. There are great apps that can help. Eight hours of sleep is worthless if you spend all of it tossing and turning, or you only sleep for about 3-4 hours of it. Trying to fix poor sleep habits by going to bed earlier is like trying to lose weight by spending more time at the gym without actually changing the duration of your workout. Once you’ve learned to optimize your time, you’ll see better results.
Optimizing your sleep means working on a few things. Firstly preparation. You need to start building good sleep habits. Next is environment, such as the mattress and your general surroundings. Finally, timing. You need to be getting the sleep you need when you need it.
The first step is to build the habits that will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and be more comfortable is to get prepared correctly. So how can you do that?
Exercise regularly. But don’t wear yourself out. You need to exercise every day in the morning or afternoon. Never at night as this will have the opposite effect and could leave you lying awake.
Wake up naturally. You need to ditch your incredibly loud, annoying alarm clock and try something new that will make waking up easier and more natural. There are some amazing alarm clock apps such as Sleep Cycle that will monitor your sleep then wake you at the right time with music or soothing sounds, or try a wake-up light that slowly rises the light level in the room as you approach your wake-up time.
Ditch the alcohol, cut out the caffeine, and watch the cigarettes. Alcohol can be relaxing and help you get to sleep, but it’s damaging to the sleep cycle. This means you will end up having a terrible and restless night where you wake more frequently than without. Caffeine has a different effect. It lengthens the 2nd phase of your sleep cycle (where your brain starts reorganizing itself and processing the day)—which is great for naps, but not for a night of deep sleep. Caffeine shortens phases three and four, where REM sleep and dreaming occur. Cigarettes on the other hand, or specifically nicotine, can be relaxing in small doses, but too much keeps you awake and prevents the onset of sleep entirely. So if you are struggling with sleep the best thing is to ditch all three! Sorry
So what can you add to your preparation to get you to sleep?
Meditate before bed. Meditation is a fantastic way of settling our minds and stopping those anxieties creeping in before we slip off to bed. Try visualizing a dream you’d like to have, or if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, relax, focus on sleeping, and try to visualize where your dream left off.
Get a really good routine which you stick to every night. Your evening ritual is important, Take time to clean yourself before bed, your skincare routine is important. You may want a small, light snack to help keep you going until the morning. Use the bathroom even if you don’t think you need it. Start a healthy “sleep routine” of winding down that starts long before your head hits the pillow. Then slowly you will improve the quality of your sleep.