A good night's sleep is crucial for maintaining focus and attention and preparing the body for the day ahead. Of course, with everyday work and stress countering a healthy lifestyle, it's not always easy to get to sleep or create the right environment for a solid night of rest. With this in mind, here are some quick tips to help bring about a more effective bed time routine.
1. Book start
A good read just before you go to bed can help take your mind off your worries and can make you feel sleepy. A well-loved classic novel may be just the trick, or you may find a short story is enough to make your eyes feel tired.
2. Limit the light
Bright lights will keep the mind and body active, so get those lights dimmed and replace any ineffective bedroom furniture. For instance, change bright lamps for soft glowing bedside lights and invest in dimmer switches to control the amount of light you use.
3. No access
Avoid using a computer or digital screen at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Backlit screens will prevent your mind and body from switching off and with an over-active mind you'll have little chance of unwinding and settling down to a good night's sleep.
4. Pen and paper
For those stresses and worries that won't go away keep a pen and paper by your bedside. When you can't stop thinking about something, write it down and deal with it the next day. Soon you'll find you get into the healthy habit of leaving troubles behind you at night.
5. Meal plans
When you eat before bed, especially if you eat fatty foods, you may experience stomach aches because your body can't easily digest foods lying down. To prevent such issues, ensure that there is at least a three hour break between your meals and bedtime.
6. Avoid alcohol
Although drinking alcohol will make you feel sleepy, it also reduces the quality of sleep and in particular the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, which is one of the most crucial stages of sleep.
7. Limit caffeine
Because caffeine remains in the body for many hours after being consumed, drinks such as tea and coffee should be drunk well before bedtime. The effects of caffeine can last for up to eight hours, however, so this may mean some serious planning and a change in lifestyle to give yourself the best chance of falling asleep easily.
8. Breathing exercises
To relax and bring the mind and body to a state of calm try using breathing exercises. Lay down flat in your bed and close your eyes. Slow your breathing. After a few attempts you'll find this type of exercise gets easier and you'll achieve a state of relaxation quicker.
9. Wash your troubles away
A hot bath may be an age old trick but it's a good one. Take a bath about an hour before you plan to go to bed and stay in the water for around twenty minutes. Add relaxing bubble bath for a calming scent and take a book in with you to read if you are still struggling to relax.
10. Keep distracted
When all else fails a boring task is likely to give you a helping hand, keeping your mind off daily worries and allowing it to switch off. Try counting backwards or repeating a times table to yourself.
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