Falling asleep can be a game of luck. For some, it has never been easier, and they can fall asleep before their head has even hit the pillow. For others, sleep is something that has to be achieved and fought for, as they lie awake for hours tossing and turning. Whilst there is not real quick fix for this, the following tips are all ways to help those in need, and relax your body for sleep.
Have you ever found yourself waking up at 6 or 7 in the morning even when you alarm is not on? That is thanks to routine. Your body clock learns when you get up and go to sleep, and quickly adjusts your internal routine to match the one you impose upon yourself. By going to bed at a regular time each day, you can condition your systems to start winding down around this time, ready for sleep.
This counts for both your mind and electronics. Don’t work all the way until bedtime, and give your mind a few hours to relax. Also, the bright screens found on most technology will keep you mind awake and alters natural melatonin levels – which inhibits the body from putting itself to sleep. Basically, the light from the screens you are looking at in bed make your body think that there is still daylight, slowing down its natural process of winding down.
Vibrant coloured walls and bold pictures may look great during the day, but they could be subconsciously preventing you from getting to sleep. Try painting your walls a more neutral pastel colour, and make the room less ‘active’. It is important to ensure your room is also quite, dark and at a comfortable temperature. Even one of these points could make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one.
An important aspect of sleep is a cleared mind. If you have lots of things to worry about the next day, try writing them down, along with your ideas, a few hours before bed. This will help you get these thoughts out the way before you try and sleep, and can help keep you from lying awake all night thinking about them
We are not talking about full on meditating here, but the breathing skills associated with it. Breathing exercises have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to quickly relax. To do so breathe deeply at a normal rhythm, do not try to control it, but focus your attention on it, noting the way it moves your body and fills your lungs. If you feel your mind wondering, simply refocus. Doing this for a couple of minutes can ease a lot of tension.
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, so stay away from them well before you go to bed. They stay in your system for quite a while, so don’t have any after early afternoon. Alcohol, whilst making you drowsy, makes sleep a lot less lightly. So even though you may think you can get to sleep easier with it, you are greatly diminishing the quality of your sleep, and will feel much worse in the morning (especially if done on a regular basis).
A lot of us do not get enough sleep, be it from working late or partying hard, and our bodies are beginning to suffer. One of the biggest things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep and relax is to accept that sleep is essential, and that you need to set a certain amount of time aside for it. Once you are consciously making an effort to get some quality shut eye, all of the above points should fall into place.