Are you finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep? Maybe you’ve always had trouble, or extra worries are making it tough?
If you are not sleeping well, please don’t ignore it. Long term insomnia can take 10 years off your life. It is also associated with major health problems like heart disease, cancers, diabetes and obesity. Sleep disruption is a factor in depression and anxiety too. In relationships with spouses, co-workers and families, it increases irritability and that may lead to conflict and violence. For young people, it can lead to poor concentration, lower grades, and bad choices.
There is always something that can be done about poor sleep! Let’s work together to get a good night’s rest.
Here are my 7 tips to getting a good night’s sleep.
1. LIGHT 🌞
Get some outdoor light. Get out especially during the morning to reset your biological clock. Then avoid blue light from phones, TVs and screens for the hour before sleep.
2. GET PHYSICAL! 🏃♀️
Thanks Olivia Newtown John! Exercise leads to better sleep. 30 minutes, three times a week minimum, but a bit every day is even better. And if you can include a walk outdoors and get your Vitamin D sunshine at the same time plus practice smiling at the neighbours is so much better.
3. REDUCE CAFFEINE ☕️
Absolutely no coffee (or chocolate, cola, tea, or energy drinks) after 3pm in the afternoon. If you are sensitive like me (sigh!) then none after midday. Try herbal tea, milo or hot lemon and honey if you like a warm drink at night. Coffee is good medicine at times, but it will disrupt your sleep, and especially as you age.
Naps interfere with a regular sleep cycle. Try to always get up at the same time so you train your body in a healthy sleep routine.
5. APPS & YOU TUBE👩💻
There are lots of meditation apps and YouTube channels dedicated to sleep meditations. Look for something with progressive relaxation, soothing music, and a likeable voice to talk you into letting your worries float away. Do some experimenting to see what works for you. Wireless earphones make it easy, even if you are sharing your bed.
6. SLEEP TRACKER ⏱
You can use an app, phone calendar, iWatch, or a diary to make note of what you try and how it works for you. Also, take note of what seems to keep you awake: is it eating late at night, an extra glass of wine or beer, worries, or something else?
7. MEDICATIONS 💊
If you have more than two weeks straight with poor sleep see your GP for some help. There are a variety of medications they can trial with you. Even a short trial can help rebalance your sleep cycles for some people. Or they may prescribe natural melatonin which is our own internal sleep regulator. For some people just having medication at their bedside takes away the worry about not sleeping and they seldom have to use it. Other people use natural medicines like lavender spray on their pillows, a warm bath before bed, or herbal remedies to help.