We have all been there. It’s late, past our expected bedtime, we feel exhausted, have lots to do the next day and know that we really need that sleep. Yet, for no clear reason, we just can’t seem to be able to fall asleep. As each minute passes, we feel increasingly frustrated and helpless, unable to get the much-needed rest we’ve been craving all day.
The benefits of sleep are numerous and vital for our well-being. Lack of sleep will impair our memory, concentration, mood, objectivity and health. A good night sleep can therefore improve how we feel, enhance our exam results, allow our studying and memory to be more efficient and help us avoid fights and misunderstanding with our friends, family, colleagues and classmates. So as we can see, sleep is rather important.
To make sure your next sleep is a good one, take a look at the 4 essential steps that will help you get all the beauty sleep you need.
1. Sleep at regular times
Going to bed around the same time has many benefits, but there are two in particular that are really worthwhile. First, it increases the chances that you will get enough sleep, since we all tend to stick better to a pattern we a familiar with. Second, our body becomes used to the pattern, which means when your usual bedtime comes around, your body will intuitively start to relax and get sleepy. Sticking to a sleep schedule is the National Sleep Foundation’s number 1 tip.
2. Key ways to enhance your bed time routine
In addition to helping your body feel ready to fall asleep, there are a few additional things you can do to help the process. One, try to avoid your phone screen right before falling asleep. “The sleep hormone, melatonin, gets released when it is dark. The bright light on your phone tricks your brain into thinking it is day and stops this from happening” states the blog by Inner Drive. This means that it would also be helpful if you dimmed your room lights, creating a more peaceful evening atmosphere. Also, why not use candles for dinner? Two, calming music is also very helpful and has been proven to reduce stress. And final tip, try to have a lavender scent (body cream, dried bouquet, pillow mist etc.) next to your bed. Having a little sniff will help your body recognize it’s time to relax and fall asleep (study in 2005 found that smelling lavender before bedtime increased people’s amount of deep sleep).
3. Relax your body
Over the day your body will build up tension. That’s why it is so crucial to do exercise and stretch. Over time we sometimes get used to carrying a lot of tension, and don’t really pay attention until something hurts. But keeping your body relaxed and limber is not only important for sleep but overall well-being. Take a few minutes to stretch when you get home or after dinner to remove all the built-up stress from sitting at a desk. Here are 6 easy ways to stretch your full body at home. Once that is done, taking a hot shower or bath can do wonders to your muscles. Making sure you are warm and cosy can really help you relax better. In addition, a cup of tea and wearing socks to bed can help warm up your body. This is especially important for your hands and feet (a study published in the journal Nature observed that warm feet and hands were the best predictor of falling sleep efficiently).
4. Make sure your bedroom is relaxing
“Your bedroom ideally needs to be dark, quiet, tidy and be kept at a temperature of between 18C and 24C” suggests the NHS webpage. Making sure all forms of distractions and worries are not visually or mentally keeping you preoccupied is important. If you realise your mind is racing, and you can’t shut off your concerns, try writing them down on a piece of paper. This will reassure your mind that you will not forget and return to it later, and therefore allow your brain to unhook and allow you to sleep. Once that is done, you can also try thinking of a peaceful place or memory. Visualising a nice moment will rekindle those feelings and help your mind and body unwind.
We hope that these tips will help you get the well-deserved sleep you need. If you have a friend or family member who mentioned struggling with sleep as well, pass this along! Who knows, these simple tricks could really help them too! And if you are still looking for a few additional ideas, check out 15 Science-Backed Ways to Fall Asleep Faster by the Huffington Post, for even more ways to help you get all the Zzz you need!
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