So how did you feel when you woke up this morning? If you started the day feeling sluggish, bleary eyed and grumpy after a lousy night's sleep then you're certainly not alone. Incredibly, 37% of adults in the UK feel they're not getting enough sleep at night.
Regularly suffering from poor quality sleep or insomnia can cause a whole host of health problems in the long term. Fortunately though, there are lots of simple changes you can make to help yourself drift off to sleep more easily at bedtime. Below are some ideas on how to make straightforward changes to your lifestyle in order to help you to get the quality sleep that you need at night.
Get on Top of Your Stress
One of the most common reasons for insomnia is stress and anxiety. If you lie awake at night worrying about work, kids, family, money or anything else then it's time to start managing your stress.
First of all you need to identify exactly what it is that is causing you to feel stressed and worried. Is there anything you can do to take action on your problems? Can you get some help in reducing the demands that have been placed on you? Sometimes it helps to simply talk through your problems with a supportive partner, friend or relative.
Learning some relaxation techniques can be extremely beneficial in helping to manage stress. I often work with my clients to introduce them to simple but effective relaxation techniques that they can use throughout the day or at bedtime to relax and be more in the moment.
Cut Down on Food and Drink Stimulants
We need to be in a relaxed state in order to get good quality sleep but many of us get through our busy and demanding days with tea, coffee and sugary snacks then find it hard to switch off in the evening.
Try and avoid caffeine from 3pm onwards each day to ensure that it doesn't affect your ability to sleep at bedtime. It's also a good idea to reduce your sugar intake and any nicotine consumption, especially in the evening, as these can work as stimulants too.
Don't be tempted to use alcohol to help you get to sleep in the evening as this can really affect the quality of your sleep.
Get Regular Massage Treatments
Among a whole host of other health benefits, receiving regular massage treatments has been shown to help with sleep problems and insomnia. It can help to reduce any muscular pain or tension that may be affecting your sleep, can reduce anxiety, increases feelings of relaxation and releases serotonin which the body uses to produce melatonin (the hormone responsible for telling the brain to prepare for sleep).
I often recommend aromatherapy massage for any of my clients that suffer from sleep problems as this way they get the added benefit of essential oils, several of which can be great for improving sleep. My article How to Sleep Better with Essential Oils explains more about which oils are beneficial for sleep.
Stick to a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines aren't just for kids! Having a regular, relaxing wind-down routine each evening can really help the body to 'switch off' and prepare for sleep. Try turning your gadgets off and instead enjoy some quiet time reading, soaking in a warm bath or practising a relaxation technique. For more help on this take a look at How to Sleep Better with a Bedtime Routine
Make Sure your Bedroom is Sleep-friendly
Your bedroom should be a soothing, relaxing and comfortable place for you to sleep. If it's too hot or cold, filled with clutter or piles of paperwork that you've brought home with you this won't help your sleep.
Think of ways you can keep your bedroom clean, tidy and clutter-free. Some inexpensive storage solutions could help with this.
Try and maintain the perfect ambience for sleeping in your bedroom. The temperature should be comfortable (around 18° C for most people). You can use fans, ventilation or heating for this. It should also be kept as dark as possible. Blackout curtains, blinds or just an eye mask can help. If noise is a problem try using earplugs.
If your mattress is more than 10 years old it could be time to replace it. You need to make sure your bed is comfortable and supports you correctly. Duvets and covers should all be the correct weight for the time of year to stop you feeling too hot or cold.
Making a few of these simple changes can really pay off when it comes to getting a more restful night's sleep.
Which of these changes make a difference to your sleep? Do you have any other great tips for a good night's sleep?
Please note - In no way is this information designed to take the place of professional medical advice. If you're continually struggling to sleep please seek advice from your GP.
I am the founder and owner of Calme Therapies, based in High Wycombe, Bucks. I am a qualified aromatherapist, massage therapist and relaxation therapist and I specialise in working with clients suffering from stress and tension.
If you would like to find out more, make an enquiry or book a treatment please contact me.