After falling asleep early, we all know how much better we feel the next day. Sleep quality improves, as does well-being. It supports our health, particularly our immune system’s ability to fight viruses. The list of benefits goes on.
How often do you lay awake trying to sleep, but all you can think about is what time it is and how much sleep you’ll get in, making it impossible to drift off? I sometimes fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow. Other times, I will lie there, my mind racing through things I need to do, or worries I might have.
In this article, I will share some tips that have helped me when I am struggling to switch off at night.
Put your phone down
What is the very last thing you do before bed? I know for me, looking at my phone, replying to that last message of the day, or checking social accounts is a habit I’ve always done. We all do it. The Evening Standard reported that one in three of us Brits even check our smartphones messages during the night.
While I used to be up a lot during the night with one of my boys (I’m still up to an extent, as my 5-year-old is always unsettled), I would check my phone, but actually found it caused me more stress. Now, if I’m up in the night, I never check my phone. It could be midnight or 3am, if I’m trying to settle one of the boys or need to go to the bathroom, I have no clue. As a result, I am able to fall back to sleep quicker since I am not worrying about every moment.
Late-night screen time is associated with a poorer quality of sleep. You need to give yourself at least half an hour before you go to bed without looking at your phone. Put it in a drawer on the other side of the room, out of reach if it’s too hard to resist. You can reply tomorrow.
Set the scene
Your bedroom can also play an important role in the quality of sleep you’re getting. You need to prep the room. Anyone that knows me knows I am a huge fan of a dark bedroom. We have blackout blinds and curtains, as do the boys. Any type of light, even a dim one can affect our natural sleep cycle. When light signals are detected via our eyes optic nerve, it delays melatonin release, increases cortisol levels, and raises our body temperature, causing us to become awake. If you’re not a fan of blocking out light, you can treat yourself to an eye mask, made from cotton or silk.
The room needs to be on the cooler side. It’s so hard to get a restful night if overheating. Apparently, we should look for a temperature of 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal sleep conditions. Adjusting the weight of your bed covers can also help.
In my bedroom, I enjoy watching TV at the end of the day with a brew. However, all this light and motion keeps the body awake, making sleep a challenge for the body. Turning off the TV at least 30 minutes before bed and curling up with a good book is your best bet, if you’re like me and cannot banish it altogether.
If there is any bedroom clutter, this can also prevent you from falling asleep quickly, so clear your sleep space right from when you enter to feel calm, relaxed, and at ease. It is also important to have good bedding for a restful night, so be sure you have some decent pillows and the appropriate weighted bedding for the season.
Avoid unhealthy snacks
It’s always nice to unwind with some tasty treats in the evening, but some of our choices can adversely impact our ability to fall asleep quickly. Caffeinated drinks are on the Sleep Foundation‘s list of snacks to avoid at bedtime, so no fizzy drinks, coffee or energy drinks. Also avoid excessive carbs, sweets, and spicy foods. Drinking alcohol reduces your ability to stay asleep, so avoid these foods a few hours before bed. Late-night snacks that are nutritious include yogurt, unsalted nuts, fruit, and oatmeal. It is definitely challenging, since your body doesn’t crave these kinds of foods at this hour of the day. Unsalted nuts or yogurt-dipped raisins may be a good compromise.
The practice of mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve sleep quality and speed up the process of falling asleep. Melatonin can be stimulated and blood pressure can be decreased. There are a few different types of mindful meditation exercises that can be done during the day, but when we go to bed, we can all practice in those last few minutes. It will give us something else to focus on instead of obsessing over daily worries. Although it will take a bit of practice, the scene will already be set since you’ll be lying down in a relaxed environment. You should only focus on deep breathing, inhaling and exhaling calmly and slowly. If anything comes to mind, let it go.
During my hypnobirthing preparation for both of my boys, I listened to what’s called Rainbow Relaxation every night before bed. It helps you relax different parts of the body by focusing on specific colours of the rainbow. I listen to it often, but never manage to finish all the colours and really recommend it if you’re struggling to relax at bedtime.
I hope you’ve found my tips to falling asleep fast helpful. I’d love you to give them a try with me.
Grit & Glamour Club is where you’ll find my latest posts. Think chatting to a good friend and expect to read articles on motherhood, self-care and work-life, home-life balance.