A good sleep routine brings all kind of benefits to your mental and physical health
Your mind and body need time to recharge. Losing out on sleep and self-care time can make you feel irritable, confused and irrational.
A good sleep routine has loads of benefits. It helps to:
- Keep your heart healthy
- Keep you safe
- Strengthen your immune system
- Prevent headaches
These tips can help improve your sleep routine.
Bed is for sleeping
You should associate your bed with sleep and rest. So, don’t use it when you’re:
- Having stressful conversations
- Using your phone or computer
- Doing important tasks
Make your bed a restful, welcoming place by:
- Keeping your room and bed clean and tidy
- Making the room as dark as possible when you’re trying to sleep
- Using relaxing smells or sounds to help you drift off
- Using blankets to make sure you’re warm enough at night
Get out of bed if you’re not sleeping
Don’t stay in your bed fretting about not being able to sleep. It won’t help you drift off.
Get out of bed and do something relaxing that may help clear your mind, like:
- Colouring or jigsaws
- Listening to music in a relaxing spot in your home
Start your day right
You will sleep better if your body can regulate the chemicals that control our waking and sleeping cycles.
You can help by:
- Opening the curtains in the morning and getting direct sunlight
- Getting up early and going to bed early
- Eating your meals at regular times
- Avoiding daytime naps
Look after your physical health
Your mental and physical habits affect your sleep. You can improve your sleep by:
- Exercising at least once a day
- Avoiding alcohol and other stimulants
- Avoiding coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks in the evenings
- Having your main meal earlier in the day
- Having supper so you don’t go to bed hungry
Learn to switch off
Often, it’s our thoughts more than anything else that keep us awake at night.
Try these tips to stop your brain whirring all night:
- Write out a to-do list for the morning
- Remind yourself that you can’t do anything practical to deal with problems now and you’ll think about it in the morning
- Focus on your current comfort, whether that’s feeling warm, relaxed or safe
- Try the self-compassionate touch technique
- Think of things that made you grateful today
It can be incredibly difficult to get back to sleep if you’ve woken up to tend to someone else’s needs.
It’s okay to feel annoyed by these interruptions but don’t let that annoyance simmer. Letting it melt away will help you get back to sleep.
Bad dreams and nightmares
Nightmares can have a devastating impact on your sleep patterns. Try these ways to cope if you’re having bad dreams regularly:
- Imagine alternative positive endings to recurring bad dreams
- Mist your face with water when you wake to bring you back to reality
- Use relaxing scents to ground you after a bad dream
- Centre yourself in reality by speaking aloud, turning on a light or getting out of bed