Friday, 26 May 2017

Sleep


I'm by no means an expert in the subject of sleep. But as a former insomniac who used to get 2-3 hours of sleep each night, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on how I get my zzzz nowadays. Of course I still sleep badly sometimes (who doesn't?), but I'm so happy that my sleep has improved so much that I can get 6-8 hours of gorgeous sleep almost every night.

As most people know, sleep is incredibly important for your overall wellbeing. It's essential for energy, concentration, good moods, stress management, appetite regulation and so much more. Ok, so here are some things that works for me. Enjoy!

Go to bed at the same time every day
This is kind of boring, but going to sleep at roughly the same time every night (yes, this includes weekends) helps so much as this restores your circadian rhythm. If you go to bed at, say, 10.30 pm every day you will eventually start to feel tired around that time.

Calming teas
I love my herbal teas in the evening. My favourite is chamomile which is so calming. I also really enjoy the "Love" tea from Pukka which has chamomile, lavender and rose. If I really need to calm down I drink valerian tea.

No coffee in the afternoon/evening
If you are sensitive to caffeine (I am!) you should avoid coffee after lunchtime. If you are very sensitive you should also avoid caffeinated teas in the evening (black, green and white teas).

Careful with the alcohol
Speaking of drinks, take it easy with the alcohol. Yes, it might help you nod off, but the sleep will be light and not as restorative.

Warm baths
Taking a hot bath in the evening can do wonders, especially if you feel stressed out. Add some lavender essential oil to the water.

Lavender
Apart from baths with lavender, the essential oil can also be dropped onto your bedsheets (in small amounts) for some calming bedroom vibes. Or make a calming body oil from coconut oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Daylight
Try to catch some daylight every day. This is important for your mood too!

No work in bed
Ever! Working in bed is the opposite of calming.

Do something calming in the evening
Read a book, watch some Netflix, cuddle a loved one... Dim the lights, put on some mellow music. Give yourself some time to unwind before bed.

Exercise in the day
I always sleep better when my body is physically tired (as opposed to just mentally tired). Some people have trouble falling asleep if they do intense training in the evening, and then it's better to work out in the afternoon or morning. Gentle yoga in the evening is great though! 

Mindfulness/meditation
Do a short meditation before trying to fall asleep. I love body scans for this. There are so many great meditation apps out there.

Breathing techniques 
If I wake up and have trouble falling asleep again I do some "4-7-8 breathing" which usually helps. You breathe in through your nose to a silent count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven and breath out through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat. Read more here.

The bedroom
Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet and not too warm.

Don't stress over lost sleep 
This is so so important! If you wake up far to early or can't fall asleep at night and immediately begin stressing over how few hours of sleep you'll get, it's almost impossible to fall asleep. You need to be calm to sleep. Try to focus on how nice it is to rest in your bed even if you're not sleeping. Or do some breathing techniques. Or get up for half an hour and read a book. It's not the end of the world if you only get 3 or 4 hours that night. You will be able to function the next day anyway.

Get help
If you have trouble sleeping for a long time and/or feel anxious and depressed you should seek professional help. There should never ever be shame in that ♥.

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