Sleep better strategies to try
Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep?
If yes, then try and make the time you go to bed and your bedtime routine intentional, strategic and consistent. Sleep won’t get better by chance. Start in the morning by making your bed. Work backwards – what time are you going to bed tonight? What will give you at least 7 hrs sleep? What do you have to get done before you go to bed? You could try gentle stretching, a bath then mindfulness or reading in bed. See below for some strategies that work for others …..
1. Reduce tech/blue light/ stimulus to wind down. Turn phones off as they emit sleep disturbing blue light. Get out of the habit watching news/ politics in the evening as it can be distracting. If something happens that you need to know, someone will tell you.
2. Set your alarm 60 mins before bed: turn the television off and go upstairs to start your routine.
3. Epsom salt bath / shower before bed. Experiment with this – is night time bath/ shower stimulant or sedative for you?
4. Change your mattress / bedding. How old is your mattress (it is recommended that you change every 7 years).
5. Mindfulness / grateful thoughts comments diary. If you write in this each night then you will have positive thoughts as you go to bed, meaning you won’t fester on what didn’t go well or anything you are annoyed about.
6. Bed linen – lovely crisp new cotton sheets may be just the thing you need to make your bed more comfortable.
7. Wash your bedding in Lavender powder or put a scent in the wash. Lavender has been shown to help with relaxation.
8. Herbal tea before bed – Chamomile works for me!
9. Less social media – go outside instead. Spending too much time on social media can be detrimental to your mental health and sap away time and energy you could be spending enjoying the outdoors.
10. Meditate or pray or just focus on breathing techniques. Headspace and Calm are both useful Apps for meditation.
11. Read a good book – not on a device with blue light as this interferes with serotonin production, your sleep hormone.
12. Consume less alcohol and sugar, especially for the hour before bed. Your body will thank you for it, especially during the working week. Do make sure you stay well hydrated though, with water! (but don’t drink a lot of fluid in 90 mins leading up to bed – take sips not pints)
13. Vitamin D drops or tablets before you go to sleep are good for your body!
14. Brain dump before bed! Have a notebook and pen beside your bed – spend 5 mins writing down all that’s on your mind – what worked well and what didn’t, what you have to do tomorrow then close the notebook before you go to sleep. Commit to dealing with the stressors that cause you to ruminate. Write them down and put aside for the night.
15. Essential oils – What works for you? The evidence suggests Lavender or Chamomile, but experiment! Try putting 3 drops on your pillow, or making a spritz bottle for scenting your bed linen when you make your bed.
16. Getting up to go to the loo in the night – it can be a habit – write down what time you went and if you had drink before bed – work on your pelvic floor so that you don’t have to get up (see pelvic floor exercises before bed)
17. Don’t go to bed on a row – with partner or yourself.
18. Remove any baby sleep monitors that aren’t necessary.
19. Set boundaries for children (and partners…) that are age appropriate.
20. Create a light block. Black out curtains help regulate your melatonin levels and help you get and keep better quality sleep!
21. If you do wake in the night you might need blood tests and deeper investigation into your hormonal status Knowledge is power.
22. Being ok with the odd sleepless night and having a more positive strategy when they occur is good. Stressing about how many hours of sleep you have had can in itself inhibit good sleep!
23. If you wake in the night for the loo do Pelvic floor exercises – slow and quick squeezes – quick light switch on and off and slow -lift up to 10th floor then slow release down and stop at each floor.
24. Stretches – inner thighs knees drop to the side, hamstrings – leg up then side to side, knees across body.
25. Theta Wave Assisted Meditation – Meditation something as simple as paying attention to the sensation of an inhale and an exhale, counting down from 1000 in 7s or close eyes and count sheep jumping.
I hope your sleep improves.
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