7 Simple Steps to Improve your Sleep27/10/2016
As we edge closer to the winter months, it’s important to try and keep your energy levels up and one of the best ways of doing this is to ensure you get a full night’s sleep.
Ideally you want to give your body 7-8 hours sleep a night in order to fully recharge yourself for the next day. We of course know that this target can be a luxury for some people, so we here at VOYA have put together some tips to help you drift off a little easier and get a restful night’s sleep.
1. Pre-Sleep Nutrition
If you have ever gotten cramps in your feet or legs while lying in bed, this is possibly connected to your diet. Your sleep schedule needs a balance between hungry and full to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Going to bed on a full stomach can lead to uncomfortable digestion, while going to bed on an empty stomach can keep your brain alert while you try to get some shut eye. One handy rule of thumb is to give yourself a 2-3 hours gap between eating and falling asleep. Try to limit tea and coffee in this time as well, and choose water instead if possible.
2. Stick to a Schedule
As we mentioned already, you’re looking to get a good 7-8 hours every single night. So, with the exception of weekends, it’s likely you’ll be going to bed at the same time every night so you are up in time for your morning routine. Pick a fixed time that you want your head to hit the pillow and be sure to fit in any household tasks, getting reading for bed and even reading or watching a Netflix episode in before this. If you need more assistance still, you can use a sleep calculator to give yourself a target time to aim for.
3. Clear Your Mind
Sometimes, even if you have made an effort to follow all the steps above, your mind can feel too busy to switch off. There are several exercises you can do to try and drift off, including closing your eyes and breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth while counting back from 60 in you head.
Another is closing your eyes imagining you are on a cross-country train journey, looking out the window and picturing towns and fields and lakes passing by your window.
The Headspace meditation app is a soothing way to put your mind at ease and offers a 10-day free trial with no commitment. Listening to the relaxation and mindfulness instructions takes the hard work out of your hands and lets you focus on clearing your mind.
4. No Devices
Be strict with yourself and put your phone, tablet or computer away once you are ready to go to bed. If you are using your phone as an alarm clock, turn off the data and the Wi-Fi so you are not woken by any social or email notifications in the night. Some willpower is involved here, so if you don’t instantly fall asleep try and resist making a dash for your phone to surf the web or watch an episode of something. This technique can go on to play a part in a larger digital detox in your life.
5. Lavender Oil
Lavender won’t knock you out instantly, but can play a part in a calming ritual before you achieve sleep. Add 3-4 drops of lavender oil to a basin of hot water and lean over it with a towel over your head to help you trap and inhale the escaping vapour. Do this for a few minutes for bed. Be careful with the hot water and don’t use more than a few drops of oil. If the oil and inhalation method doesn’t suit you, you can check out more suitable items in VOYA’s new relaxing lavender range.
6. Keep Things Dark
If you are sensitive to even the smallest amounts of light, consider investing in ‘blackout’ curtains that stops almost all light from slipping into the room.
If that’s not an option for you, you can always wear a sleep mask.
7. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method
For those that have tried everything and still can’t drift off, then it’s a good idea to research some new techniques that could suit your sleeping difficulties. One technique that has gained a lot of traction in recent years is the 4-7-8 Breathing method.
This involves placing the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keeping it there through a series of breathing exercises.