A bad nights sleep can have a massive impact on your life. We all have unsettled slumbers occasionally, but if they start to happen more often than not then it's time to address the issues. I tend to be a pretty good sleeper on the whole, but every couple of months my sleeping patterns turn to jelly thanks to the usual culprits of stress, exhaustion or generally having too much on my mind. There are things you can do to help get back into a pattern and stop you feeling like death warmed up come Monday morning. These are my top five tips for a good nights sleep.
1. Get into a pattern.
Nothing causes irregular sleeping like irregular sleeping habits. If you're coming in at all hours of the night and don't have time to wind down, then you're mind won't have time to wind down either. Establish a pattern and try to stick to it as much as possible - that way your body will know you're entering sleep territory as soon as you start your ritual and it'll be easier to switch off. As much as possible I start to get ready for bed around 10pm, taking the time to cleanse my face, brush my teeth, get in my PJs, moisturise my skin and put on an episode of something on the telly. My perfected routine helps me to relax progressively, winding down and letting go of the days stresses and strains.
2. Set the mood
Your bedroom should be your haven, the one place where you can hide away and feel totally at ease. Mess and clutter make it harder to relax, so ensure everything is tidied away as much as possible to make your space welcoming. Light a candle a little while before you get into bed, filling your room with a subtle scent that will aid drifting off. Have a bedside lamp so your mind starts to recognise the reduction of light. Make sure your bed is comfy, clean and fresh; you'll be amazed at the power of freshly cleaned sheets and a fluffy pillow.
3. Block out the world
If you live in a city then it can often be hard to stop focusing on the sounds from outside your window. I live right next to a tube line, so until about 1am I can hear the faint sounds of trains chugging in the distance. The easiest way to ensure you're fully switched off is to pop a pair of foam earplugs in your ears and a eye mask over your peepers; it may be a strange sensation at first, but you'll soon figure it's the best way to switch off until you're ready to awaken the next morning. If you're a light sleeper, then reducing the sound and light affecting you can only be a good thing. I literally don't go anywhere without earplugs and a decent eye mask now.
4. Don't try to go to sleep
It sounds silly, but as soon as you start thinking 'I must go to sleep' you'll find yourself in need of counting sheep. It's counterproductive, so make sure you just get comfy and distract yourself with either watching a dvd or listening to music. You're more likely to gradually feel like snoozing, concentrating on something other than how much you need a good nights sleep. The trick is to watch something that keeps your attention, while not keeping your mind over-active. Most TVs now even have a sleep function, so you don't even need to remember to turn it off.
5. Give yourself a helping hand
There are lots of herbal remedys that aid drifting off to sleep, but I really recommend Bach's Rescue Night. A couple of drops of this help your mind to relax, eventually aiding your sleep patterns. I started taking this when I was really struggling and it helped get me back into a pattern. I don't take this every night, but I do have a few drops when I'm either really tired or have a lot on my mind. This may or may not work for you, but herbal teas and essential oils on your pillow can also have a great result and help to relax the senses.
So those are my tips on getting a good nights sleep. What are yours?