My great granny used to say: “sleep is not essential, what matters is that you rest.” I think these are wise words. We often suffer more from worrying about being awake, than from lack of sleep. However, there are things we can do (and also avoid) to promote a good night’s sleep.
- Allow yourself to have a comfortable bed. Some people swear by a memory foam mattress, others like a really firm mattress. Whatever you choose, it has to be right for you.
- Create a comfortable and restful bedroom where it is a pleasure to be. Resist the temptation to share your bedroom with your computer and other ‘work’ related items. If you have no choice, use a screen so that your sleeping area is peaceful.
- Do not exercise just before bedtime, but make sure that you get sufficient exercise earlier in the day. Sometimes people cannot sleep because they have been working very hard and find it hard to switch off. If that is you, make sure that you go for a half hour’s walk in the fresh air – ideally during daylight.
- Stay away from the computer for a few hours before going to bed. Instead allow yourself to relax, perhaps by having a bath, listening to music or reading a book.
- Have a milky drink and a banana, or a piece of toast, before going to bed. This is also helpful if you wake in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep
- A few drops of lavender on your pillow is wonderfully relaxing.
- Try to have a regular routine so that you go to bed and get up at more or less the same time each day.
- Are you the kind of person who starts to remember things, or who gets good ideas, as soon as your head hits the pillow? If so, have a notepad and pen by your bed so that you can jot it down and then forget about it.
Things to avoid:
- Coffee in the evening, too much alcohol, recreational drugs.
- A heavy meal late at night.
- If you have been awake for more than half an hour and find it hard to go to sleep it is best to get up and have a herb tea or milky drink and perhaps something to eat like a banana, toast or cereal.
- While you are up and drinking your tea or milky drink, listen to some soft music.
- If you are woken by a dream or nightmare and find it hard to go back to sleep, write it down (download it) in a notebook.
- Some people find it soothing to have the radio on very low to a station that ensures continuous talking. Others, however, prefer complete silence.
And above all – don’t worry about it!