Not being able to sleep is the most debilitating thing ever. Lying in bed, tossing and turning, falling asleep then waking up just an hour later – awful. Having a bad night also means you are going to be miserable the next day. Moody, crabby, irritable and worn out.
Why do people sleep badly?
There are so many things that can interfere with your sleep. You may be feeling anxious about a family matter or anxious about work. Somehow problems always seem worse at night. It may be that you have had a fight with your partner, are worried about your child, or-menopause! One of the most common side effects of menopause is insomnia.
Try give yourself a sleeping schedule
This may sound ridiculously simple but it is true. Get into a good sleeping routine. Try and go to bed around the same time every night and try and get up around the same time every morning. Do the same thing, whether it is mid-week or weekend. Being consistent about sleep reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and it is a cycle that you need to get into.
Have a warm bath before bed
Luxuriate in a delicious bubble bath before you go to sleep. It should be neither too hot nor too cool. Do not do anything in the bath that could stimulate you. Listen to a little bit of classical music, close your eyes, and meditate. Have low lighting and do not use any products that are too strong or too stimulating. Once you are out the bath, go straight to bed.
Screen time has become the biggest cause of people sleeping badly. Make it a rule to go to bed without your computer and without your phone. Rather take a book with you. Research has shown that people who go to bed with their computers often wake up during the night especially to check for messages and then cannot fall asleep again. Social media on computers can be addictive and cause terrible damage with your sleep patterns. Leave all your technology in a different room.
Be aware of what you eat and drink
Alcohol pays havoc with sleep patterns. Heavy food does the same. Some say you should never eat chocolate or cheese before bedtime; that they can both give you nightmares. Personally, I always have a square of chocolate in bed! But that is the other thing – don’t eat in bed. Use your bed for sleeping in. Not for movies, not for Netflix, and not for screens. Just for sleeping. Eat a light meal before you go to bed and drink water or a lovely herbal tea.
There are plenty of herbal teas on the market that are good for sleep. Chamomile tea is excellent, as is green tea. You can make your own herbal tea by using fresh ginger, lemon and mint. Lavender tea is excellent, and St. Johns Wort is very good too. You can also just drink hot water with a slice of lemon in it. There are special sleepy time teas that often have a mixture of chamomile, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, mint, lavender, rosebuds and spearmint. They are delicious and will definitely ensure good dreams.
If you do not fall asleep within twenty minutes, get up and out of bed. Go and do something relaxing. Breathe in the night air. Make yourself a cup of tea. Do not do anything strenuous or stimulating, but get out of bed and back in again when you feel sleepy. Do not lie in bed agonizing over why you cannot sleep, it gets even harder to fall asleep. And stay away from your laptop!
Make sure you are comfortable
Make your bedroom into a retreat; create the ideal conditions for sleeping. Try and keep your room dark. If the sun comes up early, make sure your curtains are lined and thick. If you are on a busy road, arrange for your windows to be double glazed. If the room is very hot, get an overhead fan. If you live in a climate that has mosquitos, get a mosquito net. Or rub anti mosquito cream on your body before you go to sleep. Make sure your bedroom feels pretty to you and that it is somewhere that helps you to relax. Try and keep dogs or cats out of your bedroom. If you have children, set some rules or boundaries about when they can or cannot come in.
Duvets and pillows
It is really worth spending a bit of money on a decent duvet and good pillows. If you have back or neck problems, or even if you don’t, invest in a good mattress. Try and spend money on a good quality thread count and keep your bedroom clean. Turn your mattress ever few months, and if you have bed bugs, get rid of them!
Yoga is excellent as a before bed exercise, as is a gentle stroll or meditation. Do mindful breathing and a short meditation, focus on your breathing and your sleep will come quickly and easily.