Most of us have those nights now and then where we either can’t get to sleep at all, or we have some sleep but it’s not very good quality. But according to experts, there are a few things you can do to help yourself to fall into a refreshing, deep sleep.
Firstly, you need to teach your body that your bed is a place for sleep. So that means not using your bed for watching Netflix, playing games, or scrolling through social media – because doing so will subtly train your subconscious into thinking that our bed is not a place for rest.
This also means that if you can’t sleep, and you’re in bed tossing and turning, you should get out of bed and find a calming activity to do until you feel sleepy enough to return to bed. Avoid falling asleep on the sofa because then your body will start to believe that it’s a better place to sleep than your bed!
Secondly, as hard as it may be, one of the best ways to make sure you sleep well is by keeping to a schedule. This is definitely something I’m not good at and need to improve on! Trying to always go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time will train your body to sleep at certain times, and will improve the quality of sleep you get. When we mess up our sleep times it throws our body off and causes a similar feeling to having jet lag!
What about when you’re tired but you can’t sleep, and as you lay there worrying about not being able to sleep it feels like you’re getting more and more awake? Well, unsurprisingly, that worrying is not helping at all! It’s better not try to force yourself to sleep, because it will never work!
To stay calm, just think to yourself that if you don’t sleep it’s fine, because you can sleep tomorrow night. And as mentioned above, get out of bed and do something else that will relax you until you feel calm enough to go back to bed. I’ll certainly be trying this!
Another tip which is probably quite obvious is to avoid having caffeine before bed… but interestingly it’s been suggested that we shouldn’t drink it for eight hours before we want to sleep! Usually I avoid it after 4pm, but I guess it should be earlier if I want to sleep before midnight! Also, research suggests that even if you can sleep after having caffeine, your sleep will be lighter and less refreshing – so it’s best not to have it!
It’s not just caffeine that we should be avoiding, though, as alcohol also affects our sleep. Having alcohol may seem like a way to help us fall asleep, but it also affects the quality and depth of sleep that you’ll get. Try not to drink for three hours before bed.
Another one that you’ve heard before – looking at a screen is another thing to avoid before bed. The blue light stops your body from feeling sleepy because it can’t produce enough melatonin. Something I’ve found fantastic is to download a ‘Night Filter’ app on my phone and laptop, they help to reduce the blue light by filtering it so if you really need to look at a screen it is slightly less damaging (but still try to avoid doing it too much!)
Hope these tips will be helpful to you, I’m going to be trying them from now on!