Do you find yourself gulping back a copious amount of coffee every day just so you can make it til clock out time? Do you find yourself going to bed, only to spend another hour scrolling through social media and watching Netflix? If you are feeling exhausted every day – you need to start getting better sleep.
Getting better sleep
When we are stressed, sleep is one of the first things to feel the impact. As we live more stress-filled lives, it is easy to live in a state of semi-exhaustion. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can lead to burnout. Today we’re going to help you kick your bad sleeping habits and to make the most of the hours you do manage to get.
Bad Sleep Habits
When you are laying in bed unable to sleep, it can be easy to focus on all your anxieties and worries from the day. In the dead of night, all our issues seem to magnify and you can find yourself imagining all sorts of made up scenarios that will never actually happen. Next time you find yourself about to spiral into this sleep-busting habit, take a few minutes to write out what is causing you this stress. Sometimes just acknowledging the thoughts can be enough for them to subside until morning. If you don’t want to write, even just dictate them into your phone for you to listen to them in the morning. Getting out all the thoughts floating around in your mind can help you ease into a more relaxed state where you can fall asleep.
Going to bed with your phone
Personally, this is what I struggle with nightly. My phone is usually the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing at night. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve powered off my laptop to go to bed, only to spend the next hour on Twitter and Instagram. There are a few ways to counter this habit. One is to simply leave your phone in another room. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, just buy a small cheap alarm clock next time you are shopping. Another way is to start a habit of reading a book instead. Smartphones can interfere with your sleep due to the blue light that they emit. A physical book doesn’t have that issue. Also, you could listen to an audiobook or podcast if you feel too tired to actually read. There is a great podcast called ‘Sleep with me‘ that is designed to lull listeners to sleep.
Drinking too much caffeine throughout the day
Walk through any office and chances are every second person is clutching a coffee cup. Then head to the gym after work and you’ll probably notice energy drink bottles and containers of ‘pre-workout’ strewn around the place. Energy drinks with a multitude of flavours are now readily available in any supermarket or corner shop you enter. We all seem to be addicted to caffeine. If you are constantly struggling to fall asleep, keep a diary for a week on how much caffeine you are consuming. The recommended caffeine intake is roughly four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks. But caffeine levels in these products can vary widely so you could be ingesting more than you think.
Opening a bottle of wine before bed
There is a conventional wisdom that having alcohol before bed can help you fall asleep. But alcohol interferes with your REM sleep, which is the type of sleep that makes you feel well rested. If you plan on having wine with dinner, make sure you having just one glass in a two-hour time frame before bed. Any more and it will have a negative impact on your REM sleep. And a lack of REM sleep makes you more anxious, irritable and craving more food throughout the day. Is that second glass of wine really worth it?
How to get better sleep
Make your bedroom a sleep haven
Having a bedroom that is too warm can have a major impact on your sleep. 18.5 degrees Celsius is considered the optimum temperature. If you open the window, the outside noise can disrupt your sleep as well as any light that comes through. Make sure to have blackout blinds as even the smallest amount of light can be a trigger to wake you up. Before you go to bed, you might also consider spraying some lavender around the room and on your bedsheets. Lavender is helpful for easing anxiety.
Work out to conk out
When you are feeling tired, exercise is the last thing you probably want to do. However, exercise does help regulate your sleeping patterns and can make it easier to fall asleep. A study from Basel University showed that people who worked out hardest 65-90 minutes before bed fell asleep fastest, slept more deeply and woke up less throughout the night.
Get out of bed
If you are struggling to get to sleep, laying in bed is not going to help. The more you toss and turn, this signals to the brain that you are stressed and will make it more difficult to fall asleep. Best thing to do is to get out of your bedroom and sit somewhere and meditate for 5-10 minutes. An app like Headspace or Calm provides helpful mini meditations that you can do. The main purpose for meditating is to reset your breathing patterns and help you focus on your breathing until you become sleepy. This should happen relatively quickly.
So how did you sleep last night? Were you lying awake worried about today? Or did you fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow? Let us know in the comments below if you have any more tips for a great nights sleep.