So you can't sleep? If you’re having problems drifting off, then settle down and get to grips with our tried and tested tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
One simple breathing technique can make all the difference. The 4-7-8 technique was introduced by Dr. Weil and imitates techniques that are used for meditation. After a month of trying this technique, we can let you know that it’s not an instant fix. You feel silly at first, doubt whether you’re doing it right and will probably give up a couple of times and continue with the tossing and turning. Stick with it… after a little practice it starts to work. It lowers your heartbeat to such a relaxed state that you can’t help but sleep. Here’s how you breathe your way to good sleep…
Take a big breath out from your mouth (make a 'whoooosh' noise).
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
Breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds (make a 'whoooosh' noise).
Read a book
Diving into a good book could be the answer to winding down, ready for bed. Reading lets your imagination drift off, and pretty soon you will be too. Spending time reading a book before bed can tackle insomnia. A study at the University of Sussex found that just 6 minutes reading before bed can reduce your stress levels by 68% (that's apparently more relaxing than music, and even a cup of tea). Being less stressed before bed means you’ll fall asleep quicker, resulting in more sleep and you’ll wake up feeling like the best version of yourself.
Use pillow spray
We’ve only recently discovered the joys of a good pillow spray, but now, we’re hooked. Lacing your pillow with a soothing scent seems to work its magic. It’s calming and certainly seems to do the job on helping us drift off. We love the Deep Sleep pillow spray from This Works. Its scent isn’t overpowering and keeps your bed smelling fresh for longer. If you have a pillow spray you swear by, we want to know!
Bed time is your time. You can relax and make sure you’re rested and ready for the next day. We’re all guilty of being attached to our phones and tablets, or spending too many hours in front of the TV. Spending time with technology at night leads to later nights and potentially a headache… a great combination if you want to be exhausted the next day. If you have a TV in the bedroom make sure it’s turned off when you head to bed (or even better, remove it from the room). If it’s your phone that keeps you up at night, leave it across the room, that way you won’t be tempted to use it. Having background noise is often the excuse used for leaving the TV on (we used that one for years), but that can easily be replaced with a small radio that doesn’t have a flickering light.
Create a bedtime routine
Most of us already have some kind of routine before bed but it’s the repetitive behaviour of doing the same things in the evening, every evening that help you to fall asleep. By repeating the same actions each night you begin to associate these actions with going to sleep, until eventually, just doing your night time routine will make your eyelids heavy. Your routine can be anything you enjoy, that winds you down, and gets you ready for bed. That might be cleansing your face, enjoying a hot drink, having a bath or enjoying a good book. As long as they all finish with you climbing into bed, your body will soon link the two together and you’ll be sleepy in no time.
Most ways of relaxing before bed are about relieving tension to make you less stressed and able to fall asleep quicker. However, there are benefits to practicing muscle tension to help you sleep. Whilst breathing in deeply, curl you toes as tight as you can. When you exhale relieve this tension. On your next breath in tense your knees, then your thighs, bum... and so on. Move right up your body, taking deep breaths in, and then work your way back down. This physically relaxes your muscles enough that you should soon be nodding off.
Give these a try and let us know how you get on.
Perhaps you have your own secret tricks for when you can't sleep? Let us in on the secret?