1.It may sound obvious, but sleeping in a cool, and dark room will help your sleep! If the room you are in is too hot, or too cold, then this will affect your ability to get to sleep. Too Hot and you will sweat and toss and turn looking for that “Cool Spot” but, too cold, and you will shiver and again only be thinking about how to warm up, occupying your brain with thoughts other than that of getting to sleep.
Keeping stimulating activities to a minimum before sleep will greatly improve your chances of getting to sleep. If you are watching action, or horror movies before going to sleep, this will stimulate your brain and will play on your mind, and can in some cases influence the dreams you have. If you are dreaming of zombies, vampires or any other nasty beings, this could result in nightmares which will wake you up, often leading to you not wanting to go back to sleep! Also, playing video games or receiving an exciting txt from someone can have an affect on your adrenaline and this will also keep you awake, as an active brain will not rest!
Going to bed at a regular time will help your body prepare for sleep time.
If you go to bed at different times every night, ( not necessarily within half hour or so) your body can become confused and will not know whether it’s time for sleep or time for stimulation. Humans are creature of habit, and the body will quickly learn a routine, but not so quickly un-learn it!
Exercise is good for the body, stimulating your muscles will keep you fit and health and any doctor will tell you that 30 minutes of exercise a day is the minimum you should be doing to maintain a healthy body, but exercise also raises the heart rate and adrenaline levels, and this will give you an extra boost for a while, so avoid exercise in the 3 hours leading up to sleep time, or you could find yourself laying awake for hours! A gentle stretch 30 mins before bed however, will help you to relax and allow your body to slow down.
Again, this may sound obvious, but don’t eat stimulating foods before going to sleep, foods with high levels of sugar or caffeine (such as chocolate, sweets or energy bars) will stop you drifting off, and will leave you aggravated, eating too much will also make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, and your mind will be on your belly instead of drifting off.
Smoking before bed will also hinder your chances of entering the land of nod! Nicotine is a stimulant (as well as being bad for you) and the receptors in your brain will be going mad after they have just had a fix and this will keep you awake if you smoke immediately before going to bed.
Try and avoid doing non sleep activities in the bedroom, so sitting on the computer or laptop, playing games or watching TV in bed is not advisable, this way when you get into bed, your body will know that it is time for sleep, not time for catching up on the soaps, or playing games, and soon you will find that when you get into bed your body will associate bed with sleep time.
Having said that, a gentle read before sleep will help you drift off, just keep the murder mystery and steamy romance novels for the day time, find something a bit boring for bed time, and this will help you forget about the worries fo the day, and you’ll soon find yourself drifting off.
Avoid drinking too much before bed time, as this can affect your sleep in many ways, fizzy drinks will stimulate you with all the sugars, tea and coffee contain caffeine for stimulation and alcohol will often make your mind wander, and energy drinks are a definite NO! it is advisable to stop all caffeine related drinks 4 hours before sleep, giving them time to wear off, and there’s always the possibility that you will wake up in the middle of the night needing the toilet, or just as you are about to drop off realizing that you need to go, and of course getting out of bed and walking to the toilet in the bright lights will awaken you again.
Breathing the right way can help you fall asleep, as your sleep breathing is different from your normal breathing. The best way to prepare your body for sleep is to breath in the same pattern you use when you are asleep, makes sense right?
The typical sleep breathing pattern is slow breathing, 3 seconds of slow breathing in, followed by 3 seconds of slow breathing out. So, start by emptying your breath, then breath in slowly and count to 3, then breath out slowly counting to 3. Doing this for a few minutes will prepare your brain and body that it’s time for rest, and will also stop you worrying about the day you have just had, or the next one you are about to have!
When you are tired, go to bed. When you are not, don’t! Makes sense doesn’t it?
It’s a simple method, but one that most people don’t follow.
Keeping yourself awake to watch the end of a film, or to finish a level on a game, or read a few more pages can often be worse for you than going to sleep, as forcing yourself to stay can often lead to that “second wind” which will keep you awake longer than you want to be.
This also works the opposite way round, forcing yourself to go to sleep when you are not tired can be bad for you too, if you find that after 30 or so minutes you are not falling asleep or are not tired, get up, but avoid bright lights, TV and going back to the computer, as this will further stimulate you, find that book you were going to read, watch your child sleep if you have one, as there is nothing more hypnotic than watching a baby sleep, they do it so well! Just don’t wake them up too. Or have a gentle stretch and watch the trees in your garden sway in the breeze through your window, this will slow your train of thought down and help your brain prepare for sleep.