It is well documented that sleep can affect our mental well being and the slightest of changes in our lives can mean a bad nights sleep. Many people worry about not getting enough sleep, if this is combined with depression or anxiety it can cause major issues and in many cases make our mental health much worse. In our lives there are many things that keep us awake at night, so here are my top tips for a good nights sleep.
This is not just the focus on the hygiene of your bed but also of the room itself. Make sure the room you sleep in is only used for that purpose. Remove all electronics other than your alarm clock. If you use your mobile as an alarm make sure notifications are on silent and keep it away from your bed so you can’t reach it. This will help stop you playing with your phone and will also mean you need to get out of bed to stop the alarm.
Wash Your Bedding Regularly
This will seem like a no-brainer to many, but psychologically freshly laundered bedding can make a huge difference. The feeling of getting into a nice clean bed is always welcome and can help induce a good nights sleep.
I would suggest weekly, and use a good quality detergent or laundry cleanser. This makes your bedding smell nice and fresh. You can also find many laundry products with lavender and chamomile scents built-in, all will aid sleep.
Pillows And Mattress
It is recommended to replace your mattress every eight years. Before buying a new mattress go to the showroom and lay on it. This may sound a little odd, but choosing the mattress you feel most comfortable on, is highly beneficial. There are many levels of support on a mattress so this also needs to be tested out.
Choosing the right pillow is also essential. I suggest pillows be changed much more often, in some cases every month. Many pillows after time go flat or lumpy and offer no support at all. Buy the best pillow you can afford, take into consideration if you are a back or side sleeper. You can use this information to choose your pillow as many now have built in neck supports depending on how you lay.
Also consider airflow, many pillows and mattresses have airflow. This helps the mattress and pillow to keep fresh and also to keep you cool.
Look At Your Decor
Calming colors on your walls will aid sleep. Having a bedroom that is bright red or blue will make you more active, consider pastel colors, such as greens or yellows. Always make sure the decor is subtle. One other thing to mention here is that if you have wallpaper or pictures the walls, don’t choose busy patterns. These don’t help relax you, plain is best.
The same goes for curtains and blinds, choose neutral or pastel shades and focus on blackouts. This can help stop any unwanted light from getting into your room. This also lets you control when you wake up and go to sleep.
If you have recurring issues with falling asleep or not getting enough sleep. Your doctor may prescribe you with a sleeping medication. This route can cause side effects and addiction, so if possible it is best used as a last resort. You may also find that if you are already taking medication for depression or anxiety that make you feel sleepy. Mirtazapine is a common antidepressant medication that if taken at night can cause drowsiness.
There are however other natural ways to aid sleep such as Valerian a sedating herb, Melatonin a natural hormone, Chamomile another relaxing herb (great in tea). Also, 5-HTP can also help with sleep too, I wrote about 5-HTP here. Remember to always consult your healthcare professional before taking any medication whether a herbal remedy or not.
Do not attempt to self medicate with alcohol or recreational drugs, this can make things much worse. It is well documented that using alcohol and drugs can cause mental illness or make mental illness much worse. Alcohol is a known depressive.
Consider smells in your room too, using a diffuser to release lavender, you can also use dried lavender bags to place under your pillow or dot your pillow with lavender essence.
Medication or relaxation before bedtime can also help immensely in creating the right frame of mind for sleep. This allows you to release the stress and thoughts of the day. I recommend the following meditation guide book.
The circadian rhythm is the natural sleep cycle, your body attempts to control when you should be awake or asleep. This can go out of sync for many reasons, but there are ways of controlling it. Training yourself can be very effective to help maintain or even achieve this rhythm.
Start to train yourself by going to bed at around the same time in the evening, this is best determined when you start to feel drowsy. In conjunction with this always attempt to wake at the same time too. Don’t be seduced into having lay-ins or going to sleep in the afternoons. Stick to sleeping only at your bed times.
Consider a light alarm. These devices can simulate sunset and sunrise, this will help you to wake or go to sleep naturally. The devices use led daylight bulbs and many have relaxation sounds. This can aid your return to a natural circadian rhythm
Find Your Own Way
These top tips for a good nights sleep are just a few of the ways that in the past have helped me and many others to start to have a good restful nights sleep. But of course we are all very different, and you may find different combination of these tips work better for you.
One thing I would like to say here is, never get stressed about not sleeping. Sometimes it seems like you can never go to sleep, this fuels depression and anxiety. You just worry about it all the time, which is not healthy for anyone. If you feel your sleep is a problem there is no shame in seeing your healthcare professional about it.
How do you prepare for sleep? Do you have tips to share? Please share them by commenting below, also if you have any questions please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.