Is your mind racing? Are deadlines causing you stress? Addicted to scrolling through social media? These might be some of the reasons you’re struggling to get to sleep at night. From helping to reduce stress, improve memory, and help your body stay fighting fit, sleep is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy life. Whether you need seven hours or nine, here psychologist Mamta Saha shares her top tips for ensuring you make the most out of your shut-eye.
Avoid any screen time (TV, Mobile, Kindle, iPad, etc. for at least an hour before you plan to sleep). Instead, listen to soothing music (hang music is beautiful) or read a book. Try to avoid visual stimulation or activities that encourage a level of intensity as this will increase the time your body and mind need to truly ‘switch off’.
Sleep around the same time every day to create a habit of letting your body know that ‘it’s that time’. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit.
Make your resting space sleep-friendly by creating an ambiance for sleep. Lamps are great to soften the light and send a signal to your brain that it is time to unwind and relax. If your bed is inviting, you are more likely to want to go to sleep in it!
Try some guided meditation or gentle stretching or yoga to help you practice mindful breathing and to support in helping you to destress. Something as simple as conscious breathing in for a count six, holding for two and breathing out for a count of eight relaxes your body (do this for five minutes minimum).
Journaling or writing a list of everything you are grateful for is a great way to lighten your mind and heal any hiccups you may have had during the day. It leaves you feeling good and will better impact the quality of your sleep. Write out whatever you feel and think, and you have less to ponder about as you drift off to sleep and this also helps with compartmentalizing your thoughts.
Look to the power of aromatherapy. Diffuse lavender oil into your bedroom or put a few drops onto your pillow. It evokes relaxation.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or anything that interferes with sleep at least four to six hours before you sleep. Instead, opt for a herbal tea like chamomile or if you’re looking for something sweeter, a fruit tea instead. Stay away from green, jasmine, black teas, and hot chocolate which have been found to have some caffeine in them and interfere with the quality of your sleep.