Ideal for improving your wellbeing with a good night’s sleep.
Call it what you like; unprecedented, turbulent, topsy turvy or unpredictable – the only single thing that is certain right now is the uncertainty. And that over-egged sentence and erratic punctuation have only served to increase our anxiety. Anyway…
What’s clear is that with this uncertainty comes stress and worry, which can be detrimental to our sleep and make existing woes seem worse. Indeed, it’s been reported that the first lockdown caused a sharp increase of insomnia across the UK, and with a second one surely on the way, Brits are investigating ways to sleep better with ever increasing frenzy. How do we know? Because you’re here, of course.
If you’re struggling to get some shut-eye and suffering from sleepless nights, then read on; here are 5 tips for sleeping better during uncertain times, IDEAL for improving your wellbeing with a good night’s sleep.
IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Home is meant to be a place for relaxing, resting and recharging. However, with many of us now working here too, the function of the home itself is changing and our domestic environments have been disrupted. As such, the usual boundaries have become blurred, with rooms once assigned to very specific tasks now hosting all manner of activity.
Is it any surprise you can’t sleep when your work computer, hastily assembled gym set up and piano you recently bought but haven’t touched are all visible from your bed? One of the best ways you can ensure a better night’s rest is by keeping your bedroom free from distraction. We’ve written a whole piece on how to create the IDEAL bedroom environment for sleep in 5 simple steps; do check it out.
While it may seem frivolous to pamper yourself in such times, it couldn’t be more important right now to indulge in a little self care, to realign and rejuvenate.
Make it a ritual each evening to take a time out from screens, news, and unwanted stimulation. Run yourself a hot bath and drop in essential oils; chamomile and lavender scents are particularly evocative of peace and tranquillity and will get you geared up (or more aptly down) for sleep. Light some candles, listen to some soothing music or pop on your favourite podcast. Turning your bathroom into your very own private spa needn’t be costly or difficult, but boy can it make a difference!
When you’re done soaking, you can delve into your skincare routine, luxuriating in the process as much as the result. Once you’re fully pampered out, make the evening extra cosy by putting on your favourite ladies nightwear or that new pair of PJs you treated yourself to. Phew, even describing it has relaxed us; we apologise if the rest of the article continues at a canter.
NO LATE NIGHT NEWS
For some, the real worrying begins once head meets pillow. First, we start trying to process what’s happened during the day, then comes the nervousness about the future.
Let’s cut to the chase; watching the 10 o’clock news or scrolling though updates about current events on our social media do no favours. So, endeavour to limit your exposure to the news and media, both in the time spent and the number of sources you’re getting your news from.
Reading every single report from different sources can make you become more anxious, feeding into a cyclical feedback loop which comes with every refresh. While it’s important to keep up to date with current affairs, digging down deep in those negative Twitter spirals is almost certainly contributing to a state of anxiety.
What’s more, the light of a screen can mess with the sleep hormone melatonin and make you feel more awake, and subsequently, it’s recommended you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bedtime. Concentrating on social media or even the latest episode in a TV drama can also add to this feeling of wakefulness.
If you’re finding it difficult to ween yourself off your phone in the evening, take small steps at first. Place your phone in a different place in the room, away from your bedside table, and invest in an alarm clock instead. Move the TV out of your bedroom, and gradually place a time limit on phone use, starting at, say, 10pm and bringing it forward each day or week. Before you know it, that token evening screen time will be a thing of the past.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT & DRINK
Getting a good night’s sleep can benefit both your physical and mental health and you’ve got to prepare your body for bed in the right way via your diet. Avoid sugar or caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and evening, as this will wake you up more. Also, consider cutting down on the booze; you may think alcohol makes you sleepy, but it actually harms the quality of your rest.
If you do fancy a late night snack, avoid anything too sugary or heavy. Instead, porridge is a surprisingly sleep-healthy choice. This is because oats and dairy release chemicals that increase your desire to sleep. Who knew? And if you’re craving a drink, try a herbal sleep tea; anything containing valerian does the job well.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A perfect night’s sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, particularly in times of turbulence and uncertainty. Follow these five suggestions, and you may well notice a marked improvement in those all important Zzzeds. Good luck!