It’s midway through January so I thought that it was a great time to remember some crucial sleep tips to ensure that 2021 is full of high quality rest along with hopefully a lot more play.
I’ve heard from some of you express that this year you really want to prioritize sleep so join me as I set aside my phone for that precious hour before bed, I opt for a 20-minute nap instead of an afternoon coffee and I meditate to settle my mind before my head hits the pillow.
To kick off here is an overview of my top-tips;
1- Invest in your rest: create a bedtime routine, treat yourself to some self-care by having a warm bath or shower. Indulge in scents such as lavender or bergamot which have proven qualities to naturally enhance relaxation in the mind and body.
2- Keep your bed for sleeping. This may seem obvious but what I mean is try not to watch TV in bed or eat or work from bed. This can definitely be difficult, especially with us all being confined to our homes more than ever at the moment, but it is very important to stay out of bed until you are actually ready for bed. Our minds are so good at making associations and if we constantly lay in bed wide awake, scrolling on our phones then we will start to associate bed with activity and not rest.
3- Timing: Try to go to bed and wake at a similar time every day. Soon you may find that you don’t need to be jolted awake by the relentless phone alarm. Of course, it’s not always possible to do this every night, but routine will definitely help you to maximise on those all-important z’s.
4- Wind down your mind before hopping into bed. There are many ways to do this like meditation, journaling, reading, organising your to-do list for the next day - anything which takes you away from worries and shifts your mindset to restful mode.
5- Write it out: don’t go to bed with a busy head. Replaying an awkward situation in your mind? Journal. Had a bad day? Note down one positive from the day, or one thing that you’re grateful for. Writing down those niggles will help get them out of your mind, off the pillow and allow you to sleep better to be able to tackle those problems the next day.
6- Temperature check: Keep your bedroom cool. In order to achieve that all-important REM sleep, your body needs to lose heat; the colder your room, the faster you'll emit a bit of warmth and the faster you'll drift off. Some good pyjamas should also help with that...
7- Avoid screens: for a minimum of 30 minutes - even better if you can make it 60 minutes, (if you can stop the Netflix cycle). Remember that it’s not just the blue light which will impact your sleep (yes, this is massive) but also think about the content which you're consuming. Pick up that cosy book or develop a self-care routine to fill that time before your head hits the pillow. More on how to fill this hour in the next blog post!
8- Ditch late-night snacking and swap alcohol for a herbal, decaffeinated tea. Try to have a lighter dinner and a soothing evening snack - I love hot chocolate or a Pukka night time tea.
9- Light: Natural light helps to prompt our natural circadian rhythms, so get light in the morning and day time and then when you're ready to wind down, dim the lights, allow candles to flicker, get cosy.
Again, this is an overview and doesn’t go into details on the proven benefits of each tip, but trust me, there are benefits! More on that next week but for now pick one and experiment. I’d love to hear from you if you have any practices that you feel help you sleep easy, or if you try any of these 9 tips!
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