By Suzy Reading
We all know the importance of adequate sleep and my mantra is: sleep for sanity! Those early days of adjusting to life with a new-born made the connection for me between clarity of thought and sleep blindingly apparent. Yet for many of us, a good night’s sleep can be likened to the Holy Grail. If you’d like to up your chances of a good night’s sleep, try out these suggestions…
1. Go gadget free
Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of screen and gadget free time before bed and notice the effect this has on your ability to get to sleep and the quality of sleep that ensues.
2. Eliminate light
In your bedroom switch off your mobile and other electronic devices. Eliminate as much light as possible. Wear an eye mask if need be.
3. Stretch & breathe
Try some gentle breath work or stretching before going to bed to disentangle your mind and body from the busyness of your day. Keep your blood-pumping, stimulating exercise for earlier in the day. Pre-bedtime calls for soothing, calming and quietening movement. Also read our post on how yoga can help you sleep better.
4. Keep it consistent
Aim for the same bed time and rise time each day where possible. Did you know that research suggests that getting to sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am is more replenishing than any other 8 hour period? See what works best with the demands of your current life circumstances.
5. Get enough sleep
Make sure you’re getting enough. Make the commitment to getting adequate sleep and let it be a genuine priority.
6. Do a ‘brain dump’
Before going to bed, try a ‘brain dump’ using pen and paper, rather than digital means. You can write down anything that’s swirling around your head – better to get it out than let it amplify in your mind. Jot down any concerns and ask yourself whether they really are as pressing as you think. Write down anything you genuinely need to tackle tomorrow. As you lie down to sleep, set the intention of giving yourself permission to rest. If you are distracted use the mantra: “It is just time for me to rest”. Let everything else wait for you.
7. Write down three blessings
Another way to refine your thinking pre-bedtime is to take a few minutes to write in your Vitality Journal. Complete the exercise “The Three Blessings”. Write down three positive things that happened in your day and importantly, WHY they happened. There is no right or wrong here, whatever comes to mind. Notice how this changes the quality of your mood and helps focus your mind on more constructive thoughts.
8. Mantra your way to sleep
If once in bed you still feel it hard to unwind try the following mantra: “If I can’t sleep, I rest. If I can’t slow my mind, I will soften body. I receive the inhalation, I surrender to the exhalation. I become my breath’. As you repeat it, work on physically softening any tension you find in your body and just feeling the sensations of your breathing.
About the Author: Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics. She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in hills of Hertfordshire, UK. Her first book The Self-Care Revolution published by Aster, is out now.
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Enjoyed this article? Read Suzy’s #AdventureShare on how yoga changed her life.