I won’t pretend it’s not ironic that I had 3 rubbish night’s sleep last week. However, I put it down to being out of routine and a ghastly sickness bug I had (which was seriously random).
Anyway, coming out of routine highlighted how much it impacts on my sleep without me even knowing. My weekly average sleep tends to be 7 hours 49 minutes (according to Fitbit) and because of my epilepsy, a good night’s sleep is essential for my health and wellbeing. However, being out of routine reduced my sleep to 5-6 hours a night which quite frankly, was nowhere near good enough!
- Put Down Your Phone
Classic. But sadly true. When I had my old Sony Xperia Z5 it had a little flashing light when I received notifications and every single night this would make me wake up at about 4AM. I now have the iPhone which is much better. Typically I go to bed at about 9.30PM – 10.00PM and I do NOT look at my phone once I’m in bed. This has made a SIGNIFICANT difference to my sleep. I fall asleep much faster and go into a deep sleep straight away. I also put my phone under my bed so should it light up, I won’t see it.
Last week I was guilty of looking at my phone when in bed and I wasn’t going to sleep til after midnight. It was taking me ages to enter a deep sleep as well and I was just glad I was on annual leave!
2. Start Your Night Time Routine Early
There comes a point in the evening when I have to get my pyjamas on! It reaches a point of desperation where I need to change and I think this is my body telling me it would really like to start getting ready to go to bed.
Of course, many of us are guilty of getting ready for bed/preparing for the next day as we are getting in bed, but this might not always be the best way. Increased movement can actually wake us up which is less than ideal when you’re about to try to go asleep. It depends on who you are – for some people, movement is calming and will help them sleep (you should trial both for a week each and see what works for you). If I exercise in the evening, there is no chance of me going to sleep before 11pm. However, if I come home, make my dinner, have a shower and get my PJs on and prep for the following morning, then all I need to do is veg on the sofa and get in bed when I’m ready to and drift off to sleep.
Likewise, having a bath before bed may also wake you up. I often find I need a bath or shower to invigorate myself rather than calm me down so factoring in when would be a suitable time to wash is essential in this process.
3. Don’t Go To Bed Hungry
January is the worst month for this. Our stomachs are stretched after the indulgent festive period, but we are all busy trying to reign it in and quite frankly I have never been hungrier than I am at the moment.
On the three nights I couldn’t sleep, I was also STARVING (possibly because of the weird stomach thing) – I’ve literally never been so hungry. However, the subsequent pain, nausea and general discomfort I was feeling was preventing me from falling asleep. On the flip side you also don’t want to go to bed full because it’s like lying with a brick in your stomach.
4. White Noise
Yes I am a baby but get over it. I have developed a terrible habit which I’ve become quite accustomed to. Last summer, I ended up sleeping with my fan on after our heatwave and I now can’t sleep without the fan! I also enjoy the subzero temperatures it brings as I can’t sleep when I’m too hot either.
The only problem is that the fan is beginning to break and it really isn’t the right season in Scotland to buy one that isn’t a heater. I’m sending positive vibes to it every night for it to keep going til more fans become available to buy that aren’t going to cost me the earth.
If like me you are reliant on the use of white noise (I also like the breeze too), there are White Noise videos on YouTube (that last 10 hours) to keep you in your deep slumber.
5. Don’t Stress About Falling Asleep
I genuinely believe that in most cases, our bodies will dictate how much rest we need even if we feel like we could sleep for 85 hours in one go but only end up getting 7 hours. It’s aiming to achieve the balance between having a productive day where you are tired but without doing too much that you feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Don’t clock watch, try not to stress about what tomorrow will bring or what happened during the day. The bedtime process is for you to chill out and restore your body. As my Mum used to say – rest and let the little soldiers fight all the germs. Tim thinks I’m off my head when I repeat that back to him, but I think it makes total sense.
Despite the research that suggests stress can be good for us, I will always be anti-stress as it is the bane of my life. However, whilst the little soldiers are fighting the shizzle going on in the body, the last thing we want to do is flood the area with some cortisol and make it more challenging for them.
Ensure you have a comfy bed, you can tolerate the person’s sleeping habits if you share your bedroom with someone and snuggle in for a cosy night.