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  • Writer's pictureNicole King

5 Tips for Better Sleep

Updated: Apr 3

In our fast-paced world, many of us struggle to get enough sleep, particularly when we feel under pressure or are experiencing stress, grief or change.

Here are a few ideas to reduce tension and improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

1. Create a Regular Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night and day. Consistency reinforces your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, promoting better sleep quality over time.

Start a nightly ritual that signals to the body that it is time to unwind. This will look different for everyone, depending on what works for you. You might want to include activities such as:

o   Reading a book for enjoyment

o   Taking a warm bath or shower (throw in some essential oils such as lavender, chamomile or bergamot and/or Epsom salts),

o   Listening to calming/soothing music / meditation

o   Having a warm relaxing drink – herbal tea or hot chocolate

o   Gentle Yoga or stretches

o   Practicing mindfulness or meditation to quiet racing thoughts

o   Deep Breathing Exercises such as the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

o   Progressive muscle relaxation. Try relaxing each muscle from your toes to your head or think of a repetitive mental routine such as counting sheep!

Sometimes, closing your eyes and listening to a simple, calming story can help distract you from what is causing you stress. Stories read slowly, with a gentle voice, can hold the mind’s attention without introducing any fear or tension. Here are some sleep stories and playlists:

-       Headspace Sleepcast

-       Spotify Sleep Playlist

2. Limit Stimulants and Stimulating Activities

Limit or avoid stimulants and stimulating activities such as electronic, such as your iPhone, iPad or laptop as they can interfere with our ability to fall asleep. You may want to turn your phone off or to “airplane mode” at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Things like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can also disrupt our sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Limiting intake of these, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime can be helpful.


3. Allocate “Worry Time” or To Do List

Often at night, there are fewer distractions and it's common to find ourselves worrying, planning, and thinking in bed. Thinking about your worries or what you need to plan can increase alertness and tension which will impact our sleep.

Consider allocating "worry time" during the day to jot down or journal any concerns, ensuring you do this at least an hour before bedtime. You can then choose to leave those worries behind until the next day.

You may want to set up a To Do List – again make sure you make your To Do List at least an hour before going to bed so that those outstanding items don’t play on your mind as you go off to sleep.

4. Make your bedroom your sanctuary Setting the right conditions for sleep can be important:

  • Avoid using your bed for work, as this can disrupt your body's association between the bed and sleep. Reserve your bed for sleep to condition your mind and body for rest when you lay down.

  • Make your bedroom dark - this signals to your body that it's time to rest. Install blackout curtains or shutters to block out external light sources. Eye masks can be effective and may help promote deep, uninterrupted sleep.

  • The temperature of your bedroom should be comfortably cool as a slightly lower temperature can promote better sleep.

  • Minimise noise disturbances by using earplugs or a fan or white noise to drown out sounds from outside such as traffic noise.

5. Regular Exercise

Get regular exercise during the day (at least 5 hours before bed). Being active in the day can help tire your body to prepare for sleep. While exercise can also help us sleep, try not to be too active close to bedtime as this can keep you awake.

If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20-30 mins, get up and do something calming. Read a book, draw or write in journal. Avoid computer, tv and phone screens or anything stimulating as that could make you more awake.

If worries and sleep issues persist, you may want to consider keeping a sleep diary to look for patterns or seek support from a counsellor who can work with you to develop strategies and help you manage stress.

Ideas / Checklist for Night Routine

◦            Write a To Do List / Journal

◦            Put any devices away (at least
1 hour before bedtime)

◦            Drink a warm drink (e.g. hot chocolate/ herbal tea)

◦            Take a soothing warm bath at least an hour before sleep.

◦            Listen to calming music / mediation.

◦            Read a book

◦            Bed time at regular time each night (before 11pm if possible)

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