Struggling to sleep?
If you’re tossing and turning and can’t seem to switch off, these tips from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Angela Wood, could be perfect for you.
Why not give them a go and see if they help you sleep through the night!
Clear your mind before bed
Unattended thoughts running around in your mind can be exhausting and make it difficult for your brain to switch off and calm down. Spending a few moments having a ‘brain dump’, i.e. writing out all the thoughts in your mind on a piece of paper, then tearing it up and letting it go allows you to clear your mind and get rid of all manner of mental chatter that could be keeping you up.
Gratitude helps rewire your brain to see the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. Every night before bed, simply list three things you are grateful for. You’ll go to bed with a much more positive mind.
Limit blue screen activity
Blue light from laptops, tablets and phone screens tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime. As you can imagine, this is particularly bad right before bed! Try cutting out all screen use an hour before bed and see if it helps you fall asleep more easily.
Do a few minutes of meditation
Meditation, whether guided or to music, can really help settle the mind and give your body a chance to wind down in preparation for sleep.
Try a body scan meditation. This practice allows you to ease into a quality, restful sleep by focusing on each of the muscle groups.
Activate your parasympathetic nervous system
If you wake up in the middle of the night or can’t get to sleep, the breathing sequence below will help trigger the vagus nerve (which helps calm the body):
- Find a comfortable position.
- Start by breathing in for a count of 5.
- Breathe out slowly for a count of 10.
- Repeat this sequence as many times as required.
Get outside in the mornings
On waking, spend at least 5-10 minutes outside. Whether it is cloudy or sunny, the natural daylight helps increase your melatonin levels, helping you get a better sleep that night. If you do this consistently over a two week period you should start to feel the benefit, allowing you to have a more restful sleep pattern.
Remember that consistency is key!
No tip can solve all of your sleep problems overnight! (pun intended). However, staying consistent with all of these tools will allow the brain to form new neuropathways and gradually get rid of old habits and behaviours. Within a short time you should notice a difference in your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep – time to count those sheep!