Sleep should be the most natural of all activities for every one of us.

But in this modern world, with all its stresses and demands, for some of us, it may no longer be so. We may have trouble falling asleep. Or we may wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again. We feel tired and cranky for the rest of the day.

We then worry if we can sleep well that night. This anxiety prevents us from sleeping. And so we enter a vicious cycle which stops us from entering a natural, restful sleep.

We may end up taking pills which creates a dependency and is unhealthy.

But this, believe me, can change.

So here are 10 Habits which will help give you a wholesome, restful, revitalising sleep every night:

1. Go to bed at the same time every night. Your body has a natural body clock that follow a 24 hour cycle. If you sleep at the same time every night your body becomes aware of this and sleep comes more naturally.

2. Wake up at the same time every day, even if you haven’t slept well the night before. Use an alarm clock if you have to. Again, you are creating a routine to help with your natural body clock. You are teaching your body and mind, when it’s time to wake up and when to sleep.

3. As it gets dark outside, keep the lights dim, perhaps just have one table lamp switched on or a candle burning. Dim lights promote relaxation. The lack of strong light entering your eyes, tells the body that it’s night. This helps your natural body clock.

4. Eat your meals at regular times, especially dinner. Again this helps the natural body clock know that bed time is approaching. Don’t eat within two hours of going to sleep.

5. Turn off all electronics an hour before going to bed. No mobile phones, TV or iPads. Read a real book instead of an electronic book. You don’t want the brightness from the electronic devices entering your eyes. If listening to music, ensure that it’s calm, relaxing music played at a low volume.

6. Brush your teeth etc. an hour before bed. You can then now relax. Spend this time quietly in your bedroom. Read a real book. It’s better to read a more literary work rather than an exciting book which might keep you awake. Write in a journal. Sketch. Listen to soft, relaxing music.

7. Don’t allow yourself to worry about what happened during the day or what will happen tomorrow. Worrying won’t change anything. Nothing you can do can change the past or future. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. All you have is now. This quiet, peaceful time before bed.

8. Massage yourself just before bed. Start with massaging your feet, each individual toe, then your calves and thighs. Spend at least 15 minutes doing this.

9. Drop caffeine from your diet. No coffee, tea, energy drinks or soft drinks.

10. Learn to meditate. (I recommend Hurry Up and Meditate by David Michie) Meditate for ten to twenty minutes an hour before bed. Then just relax. It will not only help with sleep but with life too!

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