Get a good night’s sleep
25 May 2020
By Hayley Carmichael
Sleep can be hard to come by sometimes but with our top tips you should get your 40 winks and feel refreshed in the morning…
When it's hard to sleep
For some people sleep is always hard to find, with nights spent tossing and turning hoping sleep will come.
During the current pandemic, many more people are reporting trouble sleeping as we all try to adjust to the new normal of lockdown.
Sleep patterns are disturbed resulting in less deep sleep which isn’t as restful so you wake feeling tired and groggy. The NHS every mind matters website has some great information on understanding sleeping problems.
Insomnia whether mild or more severe is hard. We all need our sleep.
How to improve your sleep at night
There is a wealth of advice out there on how to sleep well. We’ve listed our top five ways for you to get a better night’s sleep.
Number one – have a pattern
A regular sleep pattern is a good way to train your body when to sleep and when to be awake. It may take a while for the pattern to establish if your sleep is particularly disturbed, so stick with it!
Try and go to bed around the same time each evening at least for 5 out 7 days in the week. And set an alarm so you wake around the same time each day too. This rhythm is learnt by your body and mind so it knows when to prepare itself to be awake or asleep.
Number two – create a ritual
Our body responds to signals that we want to go to sleep soon, and it learns to recognize the things we do that indicate we are planning to go to bed.
What your pre-bed ritual is is entirely up to you; some suggestions include making a cup of hot choc, warm milk or herbal tea an hour before bed, or getting into PJ’s and relaxing with a book. Or massage a relaxing essential oil into the soles of your feet just as you get into bed, lavender is a good one to try.
Number three – create the right space
The room and bed we sleep in all can be tweaked to aid our passage to land of nod. If you can invest in a black out blind or curtain it is worth it; a darker room is much easier to sleep in.
Also make sure you have a cool room, it is much harder to drop off when we’re too hot. Turn down the thermostat on the heater in your bedroom to ensure the room doesn’t over heat and keep you awake. If your duvet is a high tog one, consider swapping for a lower tog for a cooler covering – you can always add a blanket if you do need the extra warmth.
When did you last invest in your mattress and pillows? Quality support for your sleep can make a big difference to how much you get each night.
Number four – recognize your worries
If we try and push our worries aside they just gang up and it seems like they choose the night to make themselves heard.
If thoughts start whizzing around the minute your head hits the pillow, sit up, and write them down. That way you have put them into words, and this simple action immediately makes them more manageable.
If you’re wide awake and thinking the best thing is to get up and allow yourself to be awake rather than to try and force sleep. That way, your bed stays the place where you sleep. Go sit in another room and just accept that right now sleep isn’t coming, try reading or doodling, something that doesn’t require a screen.
Number five – switch off
Stimulants before bed are no help to finding sleep. At least a couple of hours before bed avoid drinking tea, coffee and ideally alcohol. This will help you drop off more easily and also allow you to enjoy a deeper more restful sleep.
Screens are also bad companions pre-bed. Try to switch off the TV, laptop, tablet or phone around an hour before you want to sleep. Or if you are stuck into a screen before bed, try reading for 15 minutes in bed to help your mind relax from the screen light. If novels are not your thing try a magazine or non fiction like how-to-guides, fun facts or biographies. Even doing a crossword can help your mind make the shift from awake to bedtime away from the glare of a screen.
Find out more
Sleep and how to get it is a hot topic at the best of times and even more so at the moment.
Below are some links that can give you more info:
Check out the Sleep Foundation for some great advice.
The NHS have a great guide for how to get to sleep.
The Mental Health Foundation also offer some good ideas for improving your sleep pattern.