You’re lying in bed wide awake. Your brain is going 100 miles an hour thinking about tomorrow’s big presentation and how you so desperately need to be on your game. All you want to do is fall asleep, but your mind has other plans. We’ve all been there, but thankfully getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be a chore if you make some small adjustments to your lifestyle. If wide-eyed weeknights are becoming the norm, think about trying some of these simple tricks.
Ditch all your electronic devices an hour before bed to allow your body and mind time to become calm and relaxed. According to the Sleep Foundation, laptops and cell phones emit a particular type of light that’s activating to the brain – so think about swapping Instagram for a novel or magazine and help shift your body into sleep mode.
Make yourself a sleep schedule
It might seem a bit of a hard one to stick to, but going to bed and getting up at the same time each day (yes, even on weekends) reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. But if you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you feel tired to avoid agonising over sleeplessness.
Work up a sweat
A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation showed exercisers that who said their workouts qualified as ‘vigorous’ reported the best sleep compared to light and non-exercisers. Exercise has the benefit of helping to relieve anxiety by boosting endorphins – feel-good hormones that lift your spirit and help improve your mood. If your sleepless nights are often associated with worrying about future events or ruminating on the negative, a pre-sleep workout could be beneficial in easing your blues.
Learn to love lavender
A few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue tucked under your pillow, or scenting the air through a diffuser can help ease anxiety and insomnia and increase slow-wave sleep where the muscles relax and the heartbeat slows. A study done at Britain’s University of Southampton tracked the sleep patterns of 10 adults, with half sleeping in a room where lavender was diffused through the air and the other half in a room with a sweet almond oil placebo – switching rooms after a week. Volunteers ranked their quality of sleep 20 per cent better on average in the lavender-scented room.
Six million people worldwide and 43,000 New Zealanders practice transcendental meditation (TM), according to the official New Zealand website for TM. This practice allows your mind to settle inward and in this state of restful alertness, your brain functions with significantly greater coherence and your body gains deep rest. TM can only be taught through personalised instruction and is practised for 20 minutes twice each day. You can also find many free guided meditations on YouTube which you can listen to in order to feel more relaxed prior to sleep.
Blackmores Sleep Sound Formula tablets, $35.90 taken 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, will help support falling asleep, aid in a deep and sound slumber and let you wake up feeling more refreshed. Qsilica’s Beauty Sleep Night Cream, $44.90 is a topical supplement which works to rejuvenate tired skin from the outside in with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. The quality of your sleep is also enhanced through the use of calming lavender, sage and rose geranium essential oils.