Sleep. One of those things that we all love as a baby, end up fighting it growing up, and then once adult life hits all you want to do is sleep. Right? I’ve been feeling really tired lately, despite actually getting a good amount each night. It’s probably not the time but more the quality that is affecting my daily energy, and so I’ve been taking a few different steps to ensure I’m getting a better night’s sleep more regularly.
Limit Your Screen Time
Hands up, how often do you get into bed with the aim of an early night only to spend hows scrolling through social media? I mean I’m sure there are many of you who can switch off, but yeah I know there’s also a lot of us who struggle!
I may be very behind here (probably!) but I recently discovered a setting on my phone that changes the light colour at specific times. There’s a load of research out there about blue light on screens and how it apparently tells our brain that it isn’t sleep time. So in effect, using phones/tablets or other screens at night time can really mess our natural sleeping patterns up. I’m no scientist, but it’s actually really interesting to read about how light can affect us and our circadian rhythm.
Anyway, onto the point, I realised that there is a blue light filter on my phone. Switching it on takes the blues out of the screen, making it a little darker and easier on the eyes. I have mine set to change at sunrise/sunset so I can start settling down early on. Ideally I would just put my phone away but let’s be real here, that’s not going to happen every night.
You can see the difference below – blue light filter on and then normal screen colour on the right.
Find Your Routine
Let your body know what to expect when it comes to bed time. Obviously things crop up and your routine may have to change a little, but if you try to go to bed at similar times each night and settle down in similar ways you will get used to feeling like ‘oh, it’s time to sleep’.
Even something as little as brushing your teeth, washing your face and then settling down in bed to read for 10 mins in that order every night can help. Reading at night actually makes me really sleepy, so for me it’s perfect for helping me to wind down as opposed to scrolling through my phone.
Limit Caffeine and Sugars in the Evenings
I suppose this really depends on how much caffeine affects you, but as I don’t drink very much of it I can tell when I’ve had too much too late. Same with sugary snacks. I mean I’ve read that sugar shouldn’t really make a big difference in your sleeping, but I’m always more alert thanks to the sugar high.
I drink a lot of fruit teas or peppermint, so they’re all naturally caffeine free anyway. Perfect for at night when you want a hot drink but don’t want the caffeine!
Make Sure Your Room Temperatures Are Correct
Too hot or too cold and you’ll just struggle to sleep. I know, I’ve been there. I’m sure we all have. Most people suggest a room slightly colder, because getting into bed and getting warmed up helps your body to relax. Or something. I disagree.
I for one am nearly always cold, and hate getting into bed in a cold room with cold sheets. (It doesn’t help that I’m in an extension and the room always feels about 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house) Enter the ever so helpful heated blanket. I was gifted this Daewoo Electricals Double Heated Blanket from Maplin, and with the cold weather snap it has come at the perfect time!
I’ve discovered that by sticking the heated blanket on for an hour or so before I get into bed helps me to feel cosy right away. There are three different heat settings, and the first or second is enough to get your bed just warm enough without feeling like you’re lying on a desert floor. Obviously not what we want here! I’ve always wondered just how safe these kinds of blankets can be, but it feels sturdy and comes with overheating protection built in. Just make sure you turn it off fully when not in use… obviously.
This particular blanket fits nicely to the bed, and doesn’t move about when you’re sleeping. It has ties on one side that need to go under your mattress and then threaded to the other side, so you know that once it is all tied up it won’t move. It is also made from washable material and can be stored in the box it comes in when not in use.
I’ve used it quite a few times now and I can confirm though that there is nothing better than going from being cold to getting into a lovely and warm bed.
Go to Bed When You’re Actually Tired
This is an interesting one. Say you want to get an early night. You get yourself in bed at 9pm only to be lying there not tired in the slightest. What’s the point? If I try to force myself to have an early night I’ll only end up lying there for ages not being able to sleep, getting more frustrated and in effect not getting a good sleep anyway.
If you find this, why not try doing a bit of restorative yoga/meditating or something equally as relaxing? Yoga before bedtime always helps me to sleep. I think it’s the focus on breathing, but I am constantly yawning throughout a practice and that just makes me want to sleep. If you’re not actually tired, this is also a good time to pull a book or magazine out.
Use Your Bed for Sleeping Only!
This is something I read whilst I was in university I think, and honestly it’s something that has always stuck in mind. I rarely lounge on my bed throughout the day. I mean for one, I cannot be productive whilst lying in bed so all blog related things or important work has always been done sat at my desk anyway. Bed should be for sleeping, or I guess the occasional tv series binge.
I know this will be a tip most people don’t want to take in effect, but honestly I think it makes so much more of a difference! You haven’t been in bed all day, so getting in at night just feels so relaxing and comfortable. I think it works.