How to Get a Good Night's Sleep
Why do we need sleep? Why is it so important for us? Does it really matter if you don't get enough sleep, surely you can just catch up later?
Creating the right environment for your best sleep.
I'm going to suggest to you things have worked for me, but we're all different. So you pick and choose what works for you. I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here to invite you to think about the things that you're doing and whether they are serving you well. And the last thing is just some tips and techniques that have worked for me, and maybe things that you want to try.
When I started studying my nutritional healing course, I just expected to go and learn about food. But what I also learned about is about circadian rhythms. Because they're such an important part of what's naturally resting and repairing our body. It's no good having the best diet in the world if you are not resting and repairing, because your body given the right conditions, can rest and repair itself. It's absolutely magical.
Deep Sleep is vital for cell regeneration. So whenever you're catching good quality sleep, your body is using that time to restore itself, your immune system, your cardiovascular system, and all the muscles are all areas which undergo this restorative process as you sleep. And how magical is that? Just like people, no two rhythms are exactly the same. We're all individuals. But there's some general tips and techniques here that we can talk about, some general principles.
One of the things I found really interesting was that teenagers need between eight to 10 hours of sleep, because teenagers have a developing circadian system. So they can find early starts challenging. This isn't just a myth, and it's not them being lazy. This is something that's a natural part of growing up.
And adults over 60 can find themselves tired earlier in the evening than when they were younger. Older Adults also wake up more during the night and tend to wake up early in the morning.
So I'm going to be looking at three different things. So first of all, I'd really like to think about the bedroom where you sleep, what can you do to make your bedroom somewhere where you drift off into a deep, refreshing sleep? And there's a lot of things you can do. And you may know that I'm a real fan of Feng Shui, which is all about placing things in your house in the right way to support your well being. You don't have to be an expert on this. Some of this is very basic, and some is very intuitive, so you may already be doing some of these things. The most important thing you can do in your bedroom is just to make it very relaxing.
The next thing I'd ask you to think about is clutter. Do we have clutter in your bedroom? Clutter is not just being untidy. Clutter really drains your energy in so many ways. Your subconscious mind knows that clutter is something that you haven't dealt with. Even if on the surface, you may feel like it doesn’t bother you, or you don’t mind working or living in a mess, your subconscious mind is telling you there's something not right, something not in its place. I'm not going to tell you my house is perfectly tidy all the time, because it's really not. But my bedroom is and that is really important to me, to always keep my bedroom clutter free. Everything's put away before I go into my bedroom at night, because I know that's going to help me sleep better.
The ideal bedroom from a functional point of view has nothing in it only a bed. And that might be unrealistic for most people. But I would ask you to think about having as little distraction if you like in your bedroom as possible. One of the biggest things that helped me is to get blackout curtains, and so that I'm not waking up whenever the sun comes up. I'm not disturbed by any outside lights. So they are really important to me.
Another thing that's really important to me is not having any electronics in the bedroom. There's a lot of research that says the blue light that's emitted from a phone is not conducive to a good night's sleep. So my phone is on charger when I go to sleep, but not in my bedroom. I put it away from the bedroom. And I try not to have any electronics or any TV or even a radio just before I'm going to sleep. Because I know that that's not a natural way for me to doze off. The other thing I'd ask you to think about is, have you got photographs around your bedroom? And if you have any artwork, how do you feel when you look at them? Okay, you might think, well, I've got pictures of my family. And that's really good, if you can look at those pictures with just pure, unconditional love. If there are any negative connotations attached to photographs or the artwork that you've got, I would ask you to think about changing them, or putting them somewhere else, maybe in another room.
The other thing that a lot of people have, particularly in these days, when a lot of people are working from home is things in your bedroom that are to do with your work, maybe letters, books, even your laptop, I’d ask you to think about removing those from your bedroom if you can. If you have to work in your bedroom, put your work away at the end of the day, close your laptop, put your papers away. Because again, your subconscious mind knows if there's unfinished business that you've not dealt with, that's going to be quite disturbing for it's not going to be conducive to helping you sleep.
Another element that you can think about having in your bedroom to make a nice, calm, relaxing atmosphere is maybe scented candles, maybe an oil diffuser is quite popular. I know if I have lavender oil in the diffuser it really makes me feel calm and ready for a good sleep. And I also get lavender sprays to put on your pillow. That really helps me to get into a good night's sleep.
Creating routines for optimal sleep.
The next thing I'd really like to think about is your night time routine. If you are somebody who is struggling with sleeping, think about how you get yourself ready for bed. And almost try and treat yourself like you would if you had a small agitated toddler. If you were looking after a child who wasn't very good at going down to sleep, what would you do at bedtime? Just throw them into bed ? You wouldn't, you would gently think about winding them down, having a calming activity before bed, maybe a milky drink or sitting and reading a nice story. You would turn the TV off, you would get them into a routine where they're gently and gradually calming down. Everything in the body is calming down and so the mind is calming down too. The verbal and mental chatter is calming down before bedtime.
I know if I have caffeine late in the afternoon it can disturb my sleep, so I don’t have coffee after 3pm. I also try not to eat after 7pm because I know my digestion is working when I'm in bed and I don't want to be disturbed by that. I also tried not drinking too much water just before bed, so I'm not disturbed by having to get up and go to the toilet.
Thinking about your night time routine, what can you do to get yourself ready? A chamomile tea might be quite a nice thing. Listening to a meditation before you go to bed can be a very relaxing thing. Think about winding down before you actually get into bed, don’t just throw yourself into bed, that's not the way to get the best night's sleep. And again, I'm not telling you what to do. I'm telling these things that worked for me, these are things that research has shown will help you if sleep is a problem for you.
A big thing that can disrupt your sleep pattern is alcohol, and a lot of people think it's really nice to have a drink before bed, it helps to relax and it therefor helps me to sleep. The problem is when you've had alcoholic drinks at night, your sleep is not deep enough, you go into a light and restless sleep. It's not a refreshing, restorative sleep. It's not the sort of sleep that's going to replenish your energy. Quite often when you have an alcoholic drink, you may wake up very early in the morning because you are dehydrated.
I'm not here to lecture on whether you should drink or not. That's your choice. What I'm saying is if you've got issues with sleep, think about restricting the amount of alcohol that you're drinking.
Another thing that can help you is to have a warm bath or a warm shower, just before bed. And again, you're getting yourself into that routine of thinking this is wind down time, think about how you are getting warm and relaxed and ready for sleep.
The next tip is maybe a little old fashioned, but something that I love to do is to put a hot water bottle into the foot of my bed, so that when I get into bed, I can put my feet into a nice warm place. If you don't want to use a hot water bottle, simply popping on a of comfortable socks to wear in bed, maybe not the most attractive thing, but they are very cosy and they do help me to sleep better.
Another thing that I've really enjoyed is my husband bought me one of these Bluetooth headbands, it's something I do like to listen to a sleep meditation through the headband, they also completely cut out the light.
The other thing you might have seen is those sleep masks, they're like little masks that you put over your eyes and when you put them on they actually heat up. And that is such a lovely, nurturing, very calming thing to do. So I'd really recommend trying those if you haven't tried those before, they are great.
The last thing that I just like to touch on is watching TV before you go to bed. And that is something that a lot of people do, the habit of switching off from work maybe it's the time you spend with your spouse or with your loved ones. watching a TV programme together, it's quite common, but I would ask you to think about the sorts of programmes that you're watching. I personally know if I watch something that is too exciting, or too scary or something that makes me think too much, I don't have the best sleep afterwards. So for me, I'm not going to be watching a murder mystery or anything about serial killers just before I go to bed because I know it's going to disturb my sleep. That's just me, my husband is the other extreme, it doesn't bother him at all. He can watch anything, but for me, those things reappear in my dreams. So I try not to do that.
I'm hoping this has been useful for you. I'm hoping that you understand really the benefits that come from getting a good night's sleep, you know, we all need to rest and repair. It's one of the best things that we can do for our body. You know, it doesn't cost anything just to catch up on our sleep, and it’s so important.
Any questions that you've got, please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading, Stay safe, stay sane!
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