Easy Ways to Get a Good Nights Sleep. ♥

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ahh sleep. It's one of my favourite things ever. I love to sleep! Having a good nights sleep has been proven to be really important: it helps maintain weight, it improves your performance, and your ability to pay attention and remember new information. It also lowers stress, and improves your mood. I'm honestly like Cruella De Vil (Remember her?) if I don't get enough sleep, I turn into a mess, and I just cannot function properly!

So with that in mind, you'll understand why my sleeping pattern has been driving me somewhat crazy over the past few months. Whether it's the hot, summer evenings, or because it's so light outside, as soon as it's time for bed, I've been really struggling to get to sleep, and stay asleep. What's worse is I've been feeling exhausted all day long but when it's time for me to actually get that sleep I've been craving all day, I've been really restless and unable to get to sleep! After driving myself mad, and doing some research online, a while back, I've found some really good tips that have helped me to fall into the land of nod, that little bit quicker and get myself into a good sleeping routine, so I thought I'd share my top tips with you guys, as it's been working really well for me.

♥ 1. Get into a good routine - Everyone loves a good routine, and I'm no exception. I've been training myself and my body to know that when I do certain activities in my routine, that it's nearly time for bed. For example, I'll brush my teeth, carry out my skincare routine, and then sit in bed for half an hour, without the TV on, without scrolling through Instagram (that has been so hard) and just read a book instead. I've been doing this every, single night where possible and trying my best to stick to my routine! This has been great, because it's preparing my body and my mind for what is coming next: sleep time! I've also been trying my best to stick to the routine of going to bed at the same time, every evening! That can be quite hard if you've got a busy schedule, but it really does help!

♥ 2. Go to bed by 10.30pm (or aim to get at least 7, preferably 8 hours sleep per night)- this follows on nicely from my last point. Like I said, I've been trying to go to sleep at the same time most nights and stick to my routine, even if it's the weekend. That way my body knows what's coming next, and anticipates sleeping. It sounds crazy, but it really does work! Try it for yourself, and you won't want to stop your routine. Your body will know it's time for bed, and you get to sleep faster, and stay asleep so much longer! Another thing is to try your best to get 7-8 hours sleep each night, no more than that. Too much sleep can make you restless, and cause difficulty with falling asleep each night. I also cannot function on any less than 7 hours sleep, although everybody is different and you know your body best, so do what is best for you! Sleep is important, look after yourself, and listen to your body when it says you're tired.

♥ 3. Get your bedroom right - I find it easiest to get to sleep when the room is at a fairly cool temperature, and there is no light exposure in the room. Again, every body is different, so it's about getting to know your body and preferences. I know so many people that can't fall asleep without background noise, like the TV, but I can't sleep with the TV on, so do what's best for you here, if you like your bedroom warmer, do it! I'm no sleep expert, I'm simply sharing what has been working for me lately. I also love to light a soothing candle, so that the room has a lovely, relaxing and calming scent. Also, just a little FYI,  if you don't like the cold side of the pillow at night when you turn it over, we can't be friends.

♥ 4. Switch off from social media - Ahh this is a huge one! I totally recommend this tip to anybody that is struggling to get to sleep, and stay asleep. I am such a social media addict. I honestly have major FOMO if I can't scroll through Twitter or Instagram for over an hour. Yep, I'm that sad. Before I started working on my sleeping routine, I would get into bed, with every intention of going to sleep, yet stay awake for well over an hour, and way past my bed time...scrolling. Liking pictures. Wanderlusting, wishing I was on a sunny beach, with a cocktail in hand like those Insta famous beauties I follow...but no, I have work in the morning! My best advice here is, either keep your phone in a separate room, so that you can't be tempted to scroll, or just turn your phone onto airplane mode, that way you still have your alarm in the morning, but you aren't being disturbed by notifications etc. Honestly it will be the best thing you ever do, and your dark under eye circles will thank you for it. :)

♥ 5. Avoid eating three hours before bed time - When you eat before you go to bed, it works as a stimulant, that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. Try to avoid, caffeine (obvious one) and sugar mostly. Personally, I'm trying to avoid most eating, three hours before bed, as I've noticed such a difference in how much quicker I'm able to fall asleep if I do this.

♥ 6. Avoid technology - again this one speaks for itself, and it's really easy once you force yourself to do it. I touched on this slightly above, in regards to switching off from social media. However, the real challenge is avoiding and switching off everything, from TV's, to laptops, to iPads. If it involves technology, girl turn it off. You'll honestly thank me for it in the long run! I find it such a distraction, to have the TV on in the background, even if it's comfortable viewing like Gilmore Girls, every time I close my eyes, I hear a bit of somebody talking and have to listen to the conversation or open my eyes to watch what is going on! Although some people find it easier to sleep with background noise, the light exposure is doing you no favours, as it's this light exposure that delays the production of Melatonin (the sleep hormone!) If you like background noise, why not listen to the radio quietly whilst going to sleep or some relaxing music? I promise, you'll find that your sleep quality improves and you'll fall to sleep so much faster!

♥ 7. Stop the weekly, weekend lie in - another thing I never knew affected my sleep was the weekly lay in, over the weekend. Who else works really hard all week long and looks forward to those extra hours in bed on a Saturday and Sunday? I used to, until recently when I realised it was really messing up my sleep pattern and routine and was actually making me feel so much more exhausted in the long run. Why don't you just get yourself into a lovely sleep routine, and then you'll never feel tired enough to want to lay in at the weekend? Your body will just naturally wake up, and you'll be able to have so much more weekend time! The early bird catches the worm and all that!

♥ 8. Stop hitting snooze - Oh and another thing, snoozing is for losing! I used to be that girl that would want an extra 10 minutes in bed each morning, whether I was running late for work or not, those extra 10 minutes sleep, were everything! It always used to make me feel so much more tired, continuously hitting snooze, but I'm getting extra sleep so I'll feel better later right? Wrong!!! In fact, when you hit snooze in the mornings, it allows your body to fall into a new sleep cycle, which you never get to finish! This causes you to feel more tired, and have annoying fatigue all day long. I used to be so guilty of this. But now I've stopped hitting snooze, I feel a lot more refreshed in the mornings, and so much less tired throughout the day, than I did before.

♥ 9. Pamper yourself before bed - I've been adding a good old, pampering sesh into my 'bed time routine' each evening, that way my body is anticipating 'sleep time' and I feel really good, and relaxed before I go to sleep. Whether it's relaxing in a good, old, LUSH bubble bath, with lots of my favourite bath products or simply taking the time to do my skincare routine, with a little face mask. Whatever you do, it will make you feel amazing and relaxed, which is the perfect frame of mind to be in, before falling to sleep!

♥ 10. Read instead of being on your phone - another alternative to spending lots of time on your phone, and something really lovely to add into your new bedtime routine is to read, for at least half an hour each evening before bed. I switch on a small reading lamp, get my room prepared for sleep, and relax in bed whilst reading a book. I find this activity so relaxing and calming and the loveliest way to end my day! It's also a great way of letting your body and mind know, that when you start to read in bed, it's almost time for sleep!

♥ 11. Exercise - I don't mean exercising before bed, because in fact that will give you an energy boost. However, I've been trying to exercise, even if it's just for 20 minutes, at some point throughout the day and it's been helping me get such a good nights sleep! I prefer to exercise in the mornings where possible, as it's such a great way to start the day, and it improves my sleep quality massively, giving me the energy boost I need for the day ahead, but making me more fatigued in the evenings and able to sleep continuously throughout the night! Some great exercises that help me to get a good nights sleep are: cycling, walking, yoga or generally just hitting the gym!

♥ 12.  If you can't get to sleep after 20 minutes don't stress - read, or jot down your thoughts - for me this is probably one of the most important tips of all. I really do struggle to get to sleep at times, and when I was starting my new routine, my sleeping pattern was all over the place. My best advice for you, if you can't get to sleep after 20 minutes is - DON'T STRESS. I used to lay in bed, getting irritated and restless because I can't sleep, and it would only make matters worse, causing me to get even less sleep than I'd hoped. Just remember if you can't sleep: don't worry, don't count sheep, sit up and read your favourite book, and if you've got lots on your mind, write down your thoughts in a journal, that way you can have a calm mind to fall asleep on.

I hope you've found this post helpful. I'm still not 100% perfect with my sleeping routine, but I'm trying and I think that's what counts. Even if you only work on 1 of these tips a week, or a month, go at your own pace and you'll soon see how easy it is to get a good nights sleep, and feel so much more refreshed after waking up each day! 

What are your top tips for getting a good nights sleep?

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