It’s not surprising that 1 in 3 of us struggle to sleep. The hectic lives we live, coupled with a constant increase in new technology, means we never really switch off and time to ourselves – even when we really need it – can leave us feeling guilty.
Most people leave their clock next to the bedside table – understandably – but it can affect your sleep badly when you wake in the night. Checking the time, as is tempting to do, makes you worry about how much sleep you have left, what you need to do the next day etc.
A sleep signal might sound like a strange concept – but ‘tricking’ your body can work when trying to sleep. Next time you’re relaxed and ready to drift off, pick your signal (touching your earlobe, for example) and use it next time you’re struggling.
The body interprets your tossing and turning as a sign that it’s time to get up. Lie as still as possible and focus on squeezing muscles. The repetition and focus will soon have you drifting off.
If you’ve been still for a while to no avail, it could be time to get up. Move around the room and sit on a chair. Doing something relaxing, like listening to music, will help you feel tired again – at which point you should get back into bed!
Looking at anything electronic – your phone, tablet or laptop – may seem appealing when you’re tossing and turning, but stay away! The blue light they emit is notoriously bad for sleep. Try an eye mask instead.
Don’t do anything that will use too much energy or brainpower in the hour before you go to sleep. Whether you use that time to pamper, read a book or have a bath is up to you – but avoid those electronic devices!
Avoid drinking an hour before bed, and go to the toilet right before you sleep. Waking up because you need the loo can result in many an unbroken nights sleep. Putting steps into your nighttime routine now will hopefully help to keep the disturbances to a minimum.
Deep breathing, slow and from the diaphragm, mimics the way you breathe during sleep. Do this for long enough and you’ll (hopefully!) lull yourself back into a peaceful slumber