Sleep is essential to recharge one's batteries
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. This varies with age and from person to person. Unfortunately, not everyone can shut their eyes simply and nod off from sunset to sunrise, in fact, insomnia is thought to affect about a third of the UK population. Sleep deprivation can lead to slower thinking, reduced concentration and mood change as well as have a generally negative effect on your physical health. So what can you do to break this vicious circle and get a better night?
- Create a routine. By doing things in the same order every night, your brain will come to associate these activities as a countdown to sleep. You can try a warm bath, a camomile tea or light reading.
- Reverse psychology. Attempting to stay awake actually makes you feel tired! You must have experienced feeling tired but wanting to watch the end of a movie and yet falling asleep because you tried to stay awake. So keep saying to yourself, “I’d like to stay awake just a little bit longer”.
- Avoid using technology. Stay away from computers, smartphones or tablets two hours before you go to bed. The blue light from them stimulates your brain and prevents you from feeling sleepy.
- Count sheep. Yes, we know, you have already tried this one, so why not try this exercise instead: Think of a song/book title for each letter of the alphabet (‘A’ is for ‘Animal Farm’, ‘B’ is for ‘Black Beauty’). You should be asleep well before you reach Z.
- Listen to music. Music naturally calms parts of the autonomic nervous system, leading to slower breathing, lower heart rate, and reduced blood pressure. So listening to 30 minutes of relaxing music before bedtime can make for a restful night.
- Make a list. Write down all the things you have to do the next day or anything that is playing on your mind. By writing them down and getting them out of your head you will have a clear mind.
- Move your bed. We’ve evolved to feel safe and when we can spot danger early and have time to run away. You’ll feel most relaxed if your bed is facing the door whilst also being as far away from it as the space allows.
- Eat a banana. This super-fruit is rich in sleep-promoting nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 which can help relax your body and brain.
- Get comfy. Turn your mattress/pillow regularly and wear comfortable nightwear. Make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot. An ambient temperature of around 18°C is ideal for healthy sleep. If cold feet keep you awake, wear socks or rest your feet on a hot water bottle.
- Avoid alcohol and stimulants. Certain foods have stimulants and will keep you awake, so after 6 pm avoid caffeine, energy drinks, chocolate, dried fruit, spicy or sugary foods. Alcohol might initially help you fall asleep, but the sleep will be less restful.
The guided mindfulness meditation will help relax your body and mind reducing any stress or anxiety leaving your muscles relaxed and ready for a peaceful, deep sleep.
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