We all know that getting enough sleep is important, but sometimes, even with the best of intentions it can be hard to sleep well. Stress can play a big part in this, so here are my top tips for getting a good night’s sleep when overwhelmed:
There are two main areas to focus on to get a better sleep: preparing the space and preparing yourself.
Prepare the Space
Make the bedroom calm and relaxing; a place for sleep
Clear any clutter and make your bedroom somewhere that welcomes you rather than stresses you at the end of the day. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised what some people keep in their bedroom!
Keep your bedroom technology free
Increasingly research that shows that blue light from screens can have a detrimental effect on sleep. Keep your phones, tablets, laptops and TVs out of your bedroom and try to be screen-free for at least an hour before bed.
If this isn’t possible, for example if you also use your bedroom as an office, do make sure that any items are turned off and not left on standby. Lights, whether constant or flashing, can interrupt your sleep.
Keep the room at a good temperature
Sleep experts recommend 16-18°C as the optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep.
Make your room as quiet and as dark as possible
Blackout blinds can be a relatively inexpensive way to improve your sleep. Ear plugs can be handy too.
Buy an alarm clock
Use an old-fashioned alarm clock rather than your phone to wake you and leave your phone charging in a different room to avoid that ‘oh, I’ll just check my messages…..’ impulse.
Have a routine
Sleep experts recommend going to sleep and waking at the same time every day – even the weekend.
Let go of the day’s worries before you go to sleep
Find ways to manage stress before you switch off the light. How about writing down any worries or jobs that need doing before you go to sleep? This way you have a plan that is ready to go, and you will not need to worry during the night. Why not begin a gratitude ritual and think of three things to be grateful for in your day? This can be a great way to let go of stress and look at the bigger picture.
Wind down before you go to bed
Have a long bath, do some relaxation exercises, read a good book or even just take a few deep breaths to signify the end of the day. Remember to avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed to avoid the effect of blue light.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink during the day
Certain food and drink can act as a trigger for a disrupted night’s sleep. See if you can find a pattern to when you sleep better or worse.
People who exercise regularly sleep better than those who don’t. However, avoid vigorous exercise for 3 or 4 hours before bed as this can have a negative effect on sleep.
Keeping a sleep diary can be a helpful way to track the nights you sleep better and those where you don’t. One of my clients has been able to identify foods that stop her sleeping well and also realised that she has a much better night on the days she exercises.
You will be more productive, calmer, happier and will even make better health choices after a restful night. Sleep increases resilience too.
And finally, don’t become obsessed with sleep. It should be something calming and reinvigorating. However, if you are worried that lack of sleep is affecting your day to day life, have a chat with your GP and see how they can help.
I'm a Personal Coach who loves finding out about what makes people tick and helping them to make the changes necessary to get to where they want to go so they can thrive.