Going to bed can often be the greatest part of the day. Finally getting to relax in new sheets after a shower is arguably the best feeling ever. However, nothing is worse than going to bed hoping for some rest and then tossing and turning for hours. Personally, I find that when I get really stressed and need sleep the most, it often is the most elusive. I just won’t be able to sleep more than a few hours a day.
If you have experienced this as well or just struggle with getting to sleep more regularly, here are 5 tips that I have used in the past based on expert and doctor’s opinions that actually helped:
1) Yoga, stretching or meditation
All three of these things bring many benefits, however, I have found that they help me wind down when nothing else really will. Studies have shown that yoga and meditation can help improve sleep quality by helping you fall asleep quicker and wake up less throughout the night. Personally, I find even just stretching helps my body calm down as well as shake up some of the stress of the day meaning I feel better by the time I go to bed.
2) Dim the lights
This is something I have started with more recently and it really helps me get to sleep quicker. I bought a sunset lamp and hung up some fairy lights and they make for the perfect calming lighting. Projectors can also be great for this – you could display any scene that makes you feel calm e.g. sunset at a beach. The science behind dimming your lights is about reconnecting with your natural sleep cycle and preventing the suppression of Melatonin that many bright LEDs can cause.
3) Find the perfect pillow
This is a bit of a random one, but I recently moved and for a period of time had to buy an ‘interim’ pillow until I could get my proper one again. I had no idea how much of a difference this made until I had my old pillow back which is much fluffier and bigger. I’ve been sleeping SO much better. The perfect pillow will vary for everyone, but if you’re sleeping badly it may be worth looking into other pillow types. I have read into this a bit more and there is a scientific side to this (for those of you interested) – readjusting the pillow frequently can lead to interrupted sleep and less deep sleep. The wrong pillow can also affect your spinal alignment while sleeping, meaning your body has to actively work to correct it leaving you fatigued. See, there is an explanation for everything.
I have talked about journaling quite a few times on this blog and it is a hill I will die on. We have so much going on in our minds every single day, whether that is worries, things that need to get done or just random thoughts. Journaling is a way to get it all out of your mind and onto paper. It means your worries don’t just exist in your mind anymore but they are laid out right in front of you. While that can sound scary, I find it more calming than anything else. It helps me rationalise my sometimes irrational mind. It’s like by putting it on a page I can finally hit the pause button in my head, knowing it will still be there the next day.
5) Listen to calming music
When I say calming music, I mean anything that makes you feel calm. Often experts and articles will recommend classical music, white noise or calming sounds. I have found that those personally don’t work for me – they just agitate me for some reason. What does work is calm music in the genres I usually enjoy. When it comes to advice about sleep, I think it’s all about personalisation so try out what works and doesn’t work for you personally. Music is beneficial for sleep as it soothes the autonomic nervous system and hence tells your entire system to slow down. Your breathing evens out, your heartbeat slows and your blood pressure goes down – this is all good when it comes to going to sleep.
Do you have any tips that work for you when you just can’t get to sleep?