Until a decade ago I could sleep anywhere and didn’t wake for more than a few minutes without peacefully returning to the land of nod! Then life changes, stress, and hormones threw a spanner in the works.
Are you one of the millions of people who are constantly tired? £32 trillion is the worth of the world’s sleep industry. Just note the vast “sleep” section that has appeared in your local chemist or pharmacy. Sleep is so vital to our brain and body functioning that I have complied a few suggestions.
After an acupuncture treatment most patients report “a great night’s sleep.” Consider booking your next acupuncture or massage treatment with me. People can find yoga and meditation before bed very helpful to unwind after a stressful day.
Eat bananas for the magnesium, whole grains and organic food if you can. Green tea and decaf tea and coffee still contain a small amount of caffeine. I like “sleepy time” teas, my personal is very lavender-heavy but I love it!
Try to avoid caffeine drinks after 1pm (or entirely, if you have a caffeine sensitivity) and finish dinner three hours before bed – don’t worry if you find that hard at first. To avoid your digestion working hard when you should be resting and restoring avoid meat and processed foods. For more tips on a healthy gut see my last blog post. Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water.
Nice, comfy pyjamas, warm socks or slippers (barefoot walking is beneficial, but only if your feet are warm). Freshly laundered bed sheets with high thread count are luxurious. Consider a duvet made of two sections if you and your bed partner like different temperatures for sleeping. The ideal bedroom temperature is 16 to 18°C for most people. Weighted blankets are expensive but seen helpful for some. Check your pillow supports your neck and that your mattress is not saggy and giving you back ache. A tidy room (not one you work in: bad energy) with blackout blinds is ideal but an eye mask may need to suffice.
A warm milk, chocolate and cinnamon drink before bed is delicious. The ritual of a soak in an aromatic bath and either an aromatherapy pulse point roller, a pillow spray, or room diffuser will infuse the air with a scent you come to associate with relaxing. Lavender essential oil isn’t for everyone but works well (only a couple of drops) for many. Epsom salts in the bath contain plenty of magnesium.
10:30pm is apparently the latest bedtime we should aim for. One hour before bed switch off all screens and leave your phone charging out of your reach. Once snug in bed try relaxation or meditation exercises if they help you drift off.
If you wake in the night, try using a notebook by your bedside to scribble down your thoughts. Especially if you wake at 3am with a head of “things to do” like I sometimes have. Don’t use your phone for that as the blue light wakes up your brain.
Get up at the same time each day. You can nap at weekends or sneak a lie-in after lunch. Wake to your favourite radio station, a gentle tone or song.
In summary, trust that you are doing your best and don’t worry when you are awake; enjoy the warmth and peace of your bed.