A lack of sleep, or poor quality of sleep has been clinically proven to have a huge impact on our lives, not only emotionally in the short term, but long term with illnesses such as coronary heart disease and diabetes in later life. Luckily it’s never too late to take a hold of your sleep patterns and give them a revamping, no matter how despondent you may feel.
There are a few things that you may be doing that you don’t realise are very detrimental to your sleeping health. The first of these is working in your bedroom. If you live in a studio flat then this can’t be helped, so dedicate a part of the room (as far away from the bed as you can get) to work space. It’s very important to separate working and sleeping and if you combine the two then climbing into bed in a place you associate with work might stop your mind from switching off. Secondly, sleeping in a room that’s too hot will keep you awake and could even make you ill. It’s best to have a window open so you have fresh air and keep comfortably cool as you body temperature naturally dips during sleep anyway. What you do before bed could be affecting your sleep pattern too. Do you tidy or clean before bed? Something this energetic will not promote sleep. Similarly, some TVs and laptops imitate natural light and using these one hour before bed can tell your body it’s still daytime: stay awake! Good things to do before bed are reading, taking a bath, having a mug of warm milk and (even thought it’s energetic) making love, because the high levels of hormones released after sex promote peaceful sleep.
If you’ve tried all these measures to ensure your ‘sleep hygiene’ is up to scratch then perhaps you need to take a look at your sleeping schedule. Do you find that you go to bed early one night, expecting to want to go to bed the next night but can’t sleep until 4am? Thankfully there’s an extremely easy way to rectify it and while you might not believe it, we challenge you to give it a go and see what happens: Firstly, choose 8 hours where you don’t need to be anywhere, for instance, between 12am and 8am. These are the hours that you will be in bed. Whether you sleep or not is irrelevant, but during that time you should try. If you can’t sleep then get straight up and leave the room, returning when you feel you could fall asleep again. If you never fall asleep then don’t panic; your body will rectify this the next night. Even if you fall asleep at 7am you must still get up when your alarm goes off at 8 and leave the room. At any other time of day you are not allowed into your bedroom (be strict on yourself with this, or it won’t work!), otherwise you will start to associate it with insomnia again. After a couple of nights and possibly a couple of exhausted days you should find that you’re actually getting a decent amount of hour’s sleep within those dedicated 8.
Hopefully these tips will help you to get better, more sound sleep for a prolonged length of time. If they don’t help and you have been suffering from insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns for some time, then visit your doctor for their opinion.