Do you find yourself struggling to get to sleep at the end of the day or do you experience periods of interrupted sleep? Modern day living finds many of us regularly failing to get sufficient quality sleep for optimum health.
It is widely recognised that sleep deprivation can significantly impact your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Being aware of this when you know you are regularly struggling to get enough sleep, can, in itself increase anxiety and often lead to self-defeating thoughts about it.
Below are some strategies which, if you haven’t already tried, may help to improve your sleep quality:
1. Sleep in a completely dark room – The tiniest bit of light in your room can disrupt your internal body clock. Consider using blackout blinds/curtains or using an eye mask.
2. Avoid caffeine 8 hours before bed – Caffeine is a stimulant and can affect some people’s sleep if drunk too soon before bed. Be mindful that caffeine is not solely found in coffee, it can also be found in tea, soft drinks and chocolate.
3. Avoid/ Limit alcohol – Although alcohol may initially help induce sleep it often leads to interrupted sleep.
4. Take a warm bath/ shower – The body’s temperature will drop from coming out of a warm bath/ shower which can help induce sleep.
5. Have a digital detox at least an hour before bed – The blue light emitted and stimulus provided from watching TV or using digital devices too close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep/wake cycle.
6. Refrain from eating large heavy meals at least 3 hours before bed – Your body is supposed to be relaxing during sleep which it can’t do if it is digesting your food.
7. Refrain from drinking fluids 2 hours before bed – This will help reduce/minimise the need to get up to go to the bathroom.
8. Wear socks to bed – If you suffer from cold feet, wearing socks can help your circulation and in turn signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
9. Don’t do any work for at least an hour before bed – Try to give yourself time to unwind and avoid thinking about impending meetings or deadlines just before bed.
10. Keep a gratitude journal – Taking time to reflect on what you are grateful for each night can help you focus on the positive, keeping worry and pessimism at bay.
11. Read a book – Avoid reading anything to stimulating which could negate your sleep and instead choose something uplifting or spiritual.
12. Invest in a good quality mattress – Check your mattress has not exceeded its life expectancy and that it provides sufficient comfort and support.
13. Exercise regularly – Regular exercise has been shown to aid sleep quality and duration, although vigorous workouts too close to bedtime may be disruptive for some individuals.
If after trying these methods you still find you are struggling to get sufficient quality sleep be sure to consult with your doctor so that they can rule out any underlying medical conditions.