Quality sleep does wonders for your skin and wellbeing. Image: Girls’ Generation Taeyeon’s Instagram account.
TIP #1 AROMATHERAPY CAN HELP
Studies have suggested that certain scents can have a calming and sedative effect on a person. Lavender is one that’s been widely used to relieve insomnia and anxiety. You can start by using these scents in the shower, then burning a candle or rubbing a blend of oils at your pressure points before bed.
TIP #2 KEEP THE ELECTRONIC DEVICES AWAY FOR AN HOUR BEFORE BED
Electronic devices emit blue light, which tend to be beneficial during the day – they boost attention, reaction times and mood – but not so much at night.
Blue light is one of the most disruptive kinds of light to be exposed to at night. It suppresses the secretion of melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep.
For better sleep, start tuning your body for bed at least two to three hours before bed by avoiding bright screens. (No more checking your Instagram feed and e-mails before bed – do that in the morning.) You can also dim the lights in the house, or use red light, which does the least to suppress melatonin.
TIP #3 WATCH WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK
Stay away from caffeine after three in the afternoon. It’s tempting we know, especially after lunch, but it’s best to go with herbal tea and infusions, rather than to be kept awake at night. Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties, which help ease the body into sleep.
Foods that are rich in protein can make you more alert, so opt for slow carbohydrates instead. Examples of them include potatoes, brown rice or wheat pasta. Eat in moderation, at least two or three hours before bed.
TIP #4 SET ASIDE TIME FOR MEDITATION
Thoughts of the day’s happenings, assignments and deadlines – to name a few – fill our heads as we lie in bed, unable to relax. The stress messes with the quality of sleep we get, and sometimes, the ability to fall asleep. So try clearing your thoughts before hitting the sack. The best way to do this is through meditation.
Here are two meditation videos you can follow. All you need to do is to listen to the audio track, no need to actually watch the video. If you do it properly, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed the next morning, even if you don’t get the full eight hours of rest.
Just remember to make sure your phone and earphones are placed in a safe position, in case you fall asleep while listening to the tracks. Prepare a separate alarm, too, if you’re worried.
WATCH: Try this if you’ve got a little bit more time to spare before bed. It starts with tensing and easing all the muscles in your body, before using visualisations to help you drift off to sleep.
WATCH: This video from vloggers The Honest Guys uses the sound of gentle rain and breathing exercises to relax the body and slow down thoughts affecting sleep. While the total time of the video is eight hours, the guided meditation only lasts about seven minutes.
While you should try to follow the steps as closely as possible, never stress yourself out over it – it’ll be counterproductive instead. So take your time to relax, if you keep harping on how you’re never going to fall asleep, it’s going to affect you even more.
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