This article comes from Sam Butterworth at Homemaker Bedding, who recently created an in-depth guide How to Get to Sleep.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when sleep – that primal necessity for all of us – becomes an elusive luxury. Having a hectic schedule and a busy brain can take its toll on the amount of quality slumber we are banking which, in turn, can have a negative impact on how we function physically, mentally and emotionally. We’ve gathered a few simple tips you can try tonight to help calm your body and mind to promote restful sleep:
1) Serenity in the sleep space
With any quest for tranquillity you need to take stock of your immediate environment. Are you trying to sleep in a room that’s chaotic and cluttered? Make sure that anything which reminds you of feeling under stress (electrical equipment, work-related items and general messiness) is removed from your bedroom, and that the objects you keep in the room make you feel calm and happy.
Take stock of your surroundings – is the temperature correct and is there enough fresh air? Is your bed linen clean and comfortable? Are there invasive sounds or light which could be blocked out with earplugs and an eye mask? Once you’ve identified any potential problems you can begin to create a more sleep-friendly atmosphere.
2) Prepare your body
As well as establishing a consistent and healthy routine for getting ready for bed (this might include a bath or shower, applying body lotion, a few minutes’ meditation etc.), you can help your body to wind down for sleep by systematically tensing and releasing your muscles. Start at the top of your head and gradually work your way down to your toes, recognising how each muscle reaches a deeper level of relaxation with each release.
3) Put pen to paper
The cathartic nature of writing should not be underestimated when it comes to freeing your mind of nagging anxieties. Get into the habit of acknowledging any worries that might be likely to keep you awake, write them down before bed, put them in an envelope and seal it. You can then relax, safe in the knowledge that they too have been ‘put to bed’ and can be addressed in the morning.
4) Switch off
While the age-old technique of counting sheep might seem a waste of time, there’s something in the monotony of repetition and focused contemplation when it comes to encouraging a drowsy state. More effective methods of meditative sleep-promotion include re-visiting the activities of your day in detail, in reverse order, or creating a sleep mantra; a repetitive sound which you repeat to yourself in your head. Having to focus your mind in this way helps prevent it from drifting into tomorrow’s to-do list, while enabling you to relax towards a sleepy state.
Anxious feelings can lead to shallower, quicker breathing, which creates more adrenaline and increases anxiety further. Try using a breathing technique to relax and induce sleep, such as deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, holding each breath for a few seconds before releasing. Sometimes visualisations, such as a golden energising light flooding your body with each in-breath, and negative emotions leaving your body with each out-breath – can make this even more effective.
About the author: Sam Butterworth is a writer and recently created an in-depth guide on How to Get to Sleep for Homemaker Bedding. He lives in the Yorkshire countryside in the north of England, with his wife and baby son, where he moved to settle down after years living in the city.