Good sleep is crucial for physical health as well as mental well- being. While we sleep our body rests, recovers and repairs. Efficient sleep is crucial for our level of energy and mood the next day. Sleep is important for our entire being and this post will introduce you to a few techniques, which help you increase quality of sleep and with that feel better throughout the day.
Many people these days suffer from a lack of sleep either due to not having enough time to sleep or not being able to sleep properly. It is often our mind, which gets in the way of falling asleep or sleeping a night through. This can have negative consequences, which will either appear immediately or with time. Not getting enough sleep or poor quality of sleep has been linked to feeling stressed, depressed and anxious, bad mood, impaired concentration, forgetfulness, weight gain and a variety of physical health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. So our sleep affects our mood and our mood affects our sleep. Therefore, I have put together a list of things, which works both on mood as well as quality of sleep. You can choose all or a few to create a bedtime ritual, which will calm your mind, sooth you and relax your body allowing you to have a full and deep night of sleep.
Eat a nutritious light dinner and finish at least 2 hours before going to bed
At night when we sleep our body has time to recover and repair whatever needs to be repaired. It also gets the chance to rest properly and recharge its batteries. If however, we eat a heavy meal before going to bed our body needs to work on digesting the food, which will coast energy, instead of being able to recharge its energy and bring all attention to the digestion instead of other areas of the body, which potentially need to be recovered.
The solution is a light and nutritious meal at least two hours before going to sleep.
Dim your lights
If you have difficulties falling asleep, prepare your room or apartment already a bit earlier, start closing the curtains and dim the light. Bright lights can make us feel awake, while darkness and deemed lights help us feel sleepy.
Stretch, breath, meditate
A calm and relaxed mind is extremely important for a good sleep. Stretching, focusing on the breath and practicing a meditation are all very helpful in calming the mind and bringing the focus to yourself after a long and busy day. It does not have to be for long, start with 10 minutes and you will already be able to notice the soothing effect.
Turn off your phone, TV, and computer at least an hour before going to sleep
Our phone with constant internet access plays a huge role in keeping our mind active and disturbed. We are continuously exposed to information, light and fast moving items. In addition to that, social media preoccupy our mind with the lives of others, always taking our attention away from ourselves. The result is a lessened connection to the self and comparison to others, which often leaves us feeling dissatisfied and makes us create goals, which aren’t in line with our self. Using the computer has the same effect and the TV exposes us to a lot of light and often stories, which aren’t very calming.
It is therefore extremely important to give ourselves a break from phone, TV, and computer before going to sleep in order to be able to fall asleep faster and have nicer dreams.
Use relaxing and calming essential oils
There are a few different kinds of oils, which have a soothing and relaxing effect on us. You can usually find them in any health store. Pick the one with the smell you like the most. There are some which you can place in a ‘candle and oil holder’ where you burn a candle underneath and the smell then gets dispersed or apply a bit of oil on your skin (you can mix the essential oil with almond oil).
Here are some oils, which I recommend:
- Cedar wood
Drink a calming tea before going to bed (chamomile, lavender)
Everyone who knows me well knows that drinking tea is a big part of my life and I find it helpful for everything. So of course I wouldn’t leave that out of this list. Creating a calm moment for a tea break is relaxing by itself, but there are a few herbal teas, which are specifically soothing and helpful before going to bed. Here is a list from which you can chose:
- Warm milk (cow, soya, almond) with honey. Though this is not a tea, it is an extremely soothing warm drink.
Read a relaxing, calming or fun book
For some people (including me sometimes) it is hard just to go to bed, close the eyes and fall asleep. Instead of turning on the TV or computer reading a book is a great alternative. Just be careful it is not a thriller or any other kind of book, which will trigger thoughts rather than calm your mind and just make you feel good.
Make your room your sleeping room (not a work place)
Using your bedroom for sleep only and not to study or work is very important. If you start studying for an exam in bed or answering work e-mails you will start connecting that room with work and studies, which can increase your level of unrest and trigger thoughts, which might keep you from falling asleep or disturb your sleep.
Wishing you a good sleep tonight and every night 🙂