I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my sleep pattern went a little crazy during the first couple of weeks in lockdown.
Couldn’t drop off to sleep easily, quality of sleep wasn’t there and also waking early hours feeling wide awake with mind forging ahead in worry and planning.
As a wholistic therapist that knows the benefits of a good night sleep, the fact that I wasn’t sleeping well, seemed to exacerbate the situation and give me another thing to worry about.
So I’ve used some of my extra time to delve into the world of sleep research papers and filtered through to, hopefully, give you some tools to get a decent nights shut eye.
1. Keep it cool
Most people set their bedroom temperature too high. Optimal for a good nights sleep is 67°f. We need to drop our core temperature by 1°c to fall off to sleep and stay asleep. Open the window or turn down the heating
2. Take a hot bath or shower before you go to bed.
This is tied in with the tip above. Most people sleep well after a hot bath because the blood comes to the surface and the skin acts as a radiator releasing a huge amount of temperature from your core, taking you to that better, cooler place required for a good nights sleep
3. Act like a bug and stay away from the light
Darkness triggers Melatonin signalling the brain to get ready for sleep.
Light comes from, not just the overhead lighting, but also from devices such as Phones/iPads/kindles. These screens can have an impact on the release of Melatonin stopping your brain from getting the signal to go to sleep.
There are a few things you can do to help such as changing to a dark screen on your device, wearing yellow tinted glasses or changing to a paper book with the aid of a dim reading light. However, the best way is to come off your device at least 30mins prior to bed time.
4. Keep it regular
Go to bed the same time and wake up at the same time, every day. Keep to the routine, this will improve the quality of sleep. Our bodies respond to regularity and if possible, give yourself an 8 hour window of sleep opportunity.
5. Cut down on the alcohol and caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep you awake and alcohol is a sedative. Let’s not mix up the drowsiness of sedation with sleep, it’s a different state. Which is why you’ll often awake in the morning, after you’ve had a drink (or several) the night before, feeling exhausted, unrestored and unrefreshed. There’s also evidence to suggest alcohol blocks your dream sleep.
Any time of day this is a good idea. Regular meditation will help you sort through the thoughts so you’re not hanging onto unnecessary or unfounded worries, shifting us out of “fight or flight” mode.
A mediation 30 mins before you go to bed can help you drop off easier, by reducing the stress hormone Cortisol, putting you into a calmer place to have a better nights rest.
So, find a space where you can sit in silence, be calm and consciously “let go” of the day.
There are plenty of free mindfulness apps to give a go. However, if you’d like a guided meditation, I am running 30min mindfulness/meditation sessions, currently Thursday evenings. Just get in touch for the link to our next class.
I hope this helps
Sweet dreams and stay safe