The first thing you should do in order to set yourself for regular, competent rest is establishing a sleeping pattern. If you’ve been suffering from sleep problems for a while, you will need to reset your body clock, even if it takes some time.
The best way to kick this off is by going to bed and setting your morning (or afternoon if you work late shifts) alarm to the same time every day. By forming this pattern, your body will get used to this and start to get into the habit of shutting down and rebooting every day.
If you need a bit of health relaxing, there are a number of things you can do. One of the best ways to relax both the mind and body is to have a nice warm bath. It’s better for this bath to be warm rather than hot so that your body temperature can regulate and the muscles can relax appropriately.
You can also use sound as a form of relaxation. This can come in a few different forms, depending on your preference. Some examples include things like relaxation and mindfulness CDs and apps, white noise machines and apps or relaxing music to your taste that won’t pose a distraction.
At the same time, you want to try to avoid most screens and technology in bed or in your bedroom altogether. Allow your bedroom to be your quiet, dark space with little to no distraction. Watch TV in your living room and avoid taking your phone to bed if possible
During the daytime, there are a few things you do and do not want to do in order to get a more restful night. The main thing you should do is either cut down on or completely avoid caffeine consumption. This is especially important later at night as it will most likely keep you up.
Another thing you do not want to do is nap. You may be really tired, but if you can avoid the urge to get a few minutes, you should. Though your body may feel more rested (or not sometimes), you will ultimately be affecting your ability to rest later on.
When it comes to eating you do not want to be eating too close to when you sleep. Though generally, you will want to avoid high-carb meals, if it is a must, you will need to make sure you at very least four hours before you go to bed.
If possible, aim to consumer higher fat meals later in the day if you want a more deep and restful sleep. It is not healthy to eat too much fat in your diet but if you focus on consuming your fat for your latest meal only or mostly, this will at least contribute towards a good sleep.
One thing you definitely do want to do is exercise. Not only will you generally just wear your body out, but you will also be creating chemical benefits that will help you sleep. Exercise both produces serotonin and reduces the stress hormone cortisol – helping to put the mind at rest.
It is however very important that you do not exercise excessively as this can reverse these benefits. We would also recommend that you chose to workout early in the morning.
If you’re still struggling, perhaps you should try reading a book before you turn out the lights. It gives your mind something to focus on and can be very therapeutic.
If all else fails, you may be best to visit your GP and talk through a more serious approach to tackling your sleeping problems. Being overtired and sleep deprived can put you at risk of some serious health risks. You can read more about those in this blog.