It's World Sleep Day on 15 March. Sharing their lived experience of keeping well, the students and volunteers at the Nottingham Recovery College have co-produced their top ten tips to get a great night’s sleep.
1. Try and keep the same routine for bedtime
Go to bed at the same time every night. Keep a sleep/wake schedule – make it your own. Even on weekends, if you wake up naturally, try to stay up rather than force sleep.
2. Switch off mobiles, tablets etc. two hours before to going to bed
Phones, TVs, computers emit blue light which disrupts producing melatonin the sleepy hormone.
3. Give yourself some “wind-down” time
Play soothing music, listen to the radio, write in your journal or take a soothing bath or shower with your favourite products to complete the day.
4. If you find you can’t sleep after 15 mins, get up and do something gentle, like reading
Try to combine this with a caffeine free herbal tea e.g. camomile.
5. Try mindfulness meditations, relaxation techniques or yoga, as these may help you to sleep
Try a bit of tai chi – gentle exercise can relive stress from the day by removing tension from muscles.
6. Declutter your bedroom to create a calming soothing environment
If you are around clutter this can cause stress, so remove some clutter – remove some stress!
7. Make your room ideal for sleeping
Create a great environment for rest. Refresh your bedding or use a calming lavender spray and if necessary add thicker curtains or black out blinds to block out the light.
8. Be aware of eating heavy meals late into the evening
Heavy foods can disrupt the circadian rhythm, and stopping eating prior to going to sleep can help prevent heart burn. If you do get hungry, try making yourself a small healthy snack. Milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other good sources of tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs.
9. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes before bedtime
Try to not take caffeine four hours before bed. Alcohol can disrupt sleep during the night and stops us reaching deep sleep.
10. Prepare for the next day
Write a list of things you need to do the next day. It may help to keep a notebook by your bed if you wake up with worries about what you need to do. Set out your clothes and make your lunch in advance if you can. If you set a plan for the following day, it may help to alleviate any anxieties in the night, allowing your mind to relax and rest.
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