In the UK, one in four of us will suffer from insomnia at some point. Lack of sleep can have debilitating consequences such as extreme tiredness and an inability to concentrate, with these symptoms often leading to anxiety and depression. Mothers, especially new mothers, are also more likely to encounter problems with sleep due to a changing lifestyle. Although sufferers often think that only sleeping pills can help, there are non-medical ways to overcome the problem. Here are six simple steps to better sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine. Avoid drinking tea or coffee or eating heavy meals later on in the evening and try some light exercise like yoga or Pilates a few hours before bed. Read a book, watch some TV or listen to mellow music before you go to bed. Have a warm bath and maybe treat yourself to a face mask or other treatment to encourage a feeling of calm and serenity. A milky drink for supper is also a good idea. Try to make this a nightly routine.
Remember that beds are for sleeping in. Don’t watch TV, read or do work in bed. You should always keep your bed just for sleeping so that your body knows that it is time to sleep when you get into bed. When shopping for a new bed, try it beforehand and make sure that the one you choose is ideal for you and your partner’s build and weight, as well as your comfort level. If one or both of you have health issues, then you may want to consider buying ones that have specialist features, such as adjustable beds.
Don’t go to bed too early to try to catch up on your sleep. If you suffer from insomnia there is a good chance that this will not help. Instead, go to bed as late as you can and get up at the usual time in the morning. You will feel tired the next day, but avoid napping and continue this routine until you are sleeping through the night. Once you are sleeping through, bring your bedtime ten minutes forward each night until you are back to your normal sleep pattern.
Remember the twenty-minute rule: if you have been awake for more than twenty minutes, then get up. Go and sit on the sofa and have a read. If you have woken up remembering something important, then write it down with any possible solutions for the following day. Try not to eat or drink while up and once you feel tired go back to bed. If you still do not settle, then get up again after twenty minutes. Eventually, this routine should help you to sleep for longer.
Try not to oversleep in the morning. If you do get to bed late, or have a poor sleep, then get up at your regular time the following morning.
Keep control of your body clock. Light controls the body clock, so when you wake up put the light on immediately and open the curtains if natural light is available. Walk around for a few minutes or do some gentle stretches as a start to the day. When you go to bed, make sure that the bedroom is completely dark. Maintaining a regular night-time routine is also important in helping you to keep control of your body clock.
This guest post was written by Leyla who specialises in writing articles focusing on getting a good night’s sleep. She is currently writing on behalf of Archers Sleep Centre and publicising how their beds can help you gain the sleep you need.