Anyone else hear Faithless when they are lying in bed at night struggling to shut their eyes? Just me then? I can’t get no sleep, rave music!
Here are my top tips for sleep:
1. Mediation Apps
Yes you should turn off you phone before bed but if you are using a hand meditation app such as Headspace, it is acceptable!
Meditation Apps are convenient anytime but before bed, it can be useful to take a few minutes to wind down before sleeping. Headspace contains loads of free content but I recommend signing up for the full subscription after the trial as the free content is worth the money.
2. Yoga Nidra
I discovered Yoga Nidra at my local yoga studio. Commonly known as sleep yoga, this is almost guaranteed to put you asleep. The best part is that there are apps, Spotify stations and YouTube videos which have free content. Why not give it a try? It is essentially guided sleep meditation which uses body scan, mindfulness techniques and visualisation to help you drift off to sleep.
3. Make sure to eat a meal in the evening
It is so important to go to bed on a stomach that is neither empty or full. Don’t eat a heavy meal too close to bedtime but ensure that your food has had time to digest. Despite popular diet belief, carbohydrates help you to sleep, releasing serotonin in the brain and ensuring that you are able to sleep. I am talking about starchy carbs, like potatoes,rice and my personal favorite, oatmeal. Keep sugars and sweets to a minimum after 6.
4. Melatonin and Magnesium
Melatonin should be produced naturally in the body. However, in times of stress, jet lag or change in routine, melatonin production is reduced and your sleep will suffer. You can supplement using tablet or spray but it is not recommended for long term use.
Magnesium is a mineral found in foods such as grains, legumes and leafy greens. It has been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, thus resulting in a relaxed sleep. It also helps muscles relax along with potassium which is why it is recommneded you eat a banana if you get a muscle cramp. It can be taken in tablet from and is often included in multi-vitamins. Tradiotionally, humans derived enough of this mineral from food but as our food chain has become more processed and reliant on pesticies, vitamin and mineral quality has been compromised. Be warned that magnesium supplementation has a laxative effect so you may want to either take a small dose or skip to the next tip!
5 . Epsom Salt Bath
This one is still related to Magesium. Epsom Salts contain Magnesium, as explained above, a proven cortisol reducer and sleep aid. Not only will the soak in salts sooth your muscles, but it will also ensure a deep sleep.
Lavender and Chamomile are the two most popular scents for a great nights sleep. Electric Diffusers are available on Amazon and come in a variety of styles. There are also a number of sleep sprays available such as this one from Astura.
7. Charge your Phone outside your bedroom
Do you find yourself switching off the lights then checking your phone? Suddenly its 2 hours past your bedtime and your still scrolling? Buy and alarm clock and charge your phone outside your room if you are guilty of this. If you want to listen to your guided meditation on your phone, put it on a sleep timer and leave it at the other side of the room.
8. Your Bed should be used for Sleep and one other thing 😉
If you watch TV or eat dinner in bed, you need to change your habits. Your mind associated places with certain activities and if you associate your bed with activities other than sleep or sex, your sleep may be disturbed.
Take a walk, go to the gym or do yoga. Strong body, strong mind. Tired body, tired mind. Make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime or make sure that you have sufficient time to come down off your endorphin rush.
One of the biggest causes of insomnia is stress or anxiety. A problem shared is a problem halved, so reach out to a friend, partner or family member. Perhaps not in the middle of the night when your mind is churning around a problem, but let them know about your worries and you will instantly feel better.