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Thursday 3 December 2020

Simple Steps To A Better Night's Sleeps : Five Suggestions

"5 Simple Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep, As Told by Insomniac Tess Patrick

What does it take to get a good night’s sleep? Since my first year of university, I’ve been lucky to get more than 5 or 6 hours, on a good night. With early-morning gym classes and study well into the evenings, counting sheep only leaves me feeling more energized and alert. When I do eventually drift off, it’s not dreamy or restful - instead, I’m dead to the world and when I do wake, 7 rounds of snoozed alarms later, I’m feeling groggier than the night before.

We’re living in a world that simultaneously lets us wear our badge of no-sleep with honour, while allowing those who religiously get 8 hours each night to lord it over the others. And like most facets of health and wellness, there is no right or wrong in this space. Some people thrive on a healthy 6-7, others need 9-10 to feel fully rested. But what is becoming increasingly more alarming, even for this chronic insomniac, is that collectively we’re not getting enough sleep - and it’s leading to even greater health concerns.

One of the most vital functions of sleep, alongside allowing our brains some much-needed downtime, is sending our bodies back to that beautiful parasympathetic nervous system - where we can truly rest and digest from the day that unfolded. So if you’re still struggling with your slumber, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve put some practices in place this year that have drastically improved life for me, so here are 5 simple steps to a better night’s sleep.

1. Brew A Strong Cup Of Tea
Plants and herbs truly are nature’s most powerful medicine. Of all the sleeping pills I’ve tried, nothing knocks me out for the night quite like a heavily-steeped cup of chamomile tea. The sweet, honey-like drink contains apigenin, a chemical compound that induces sleepiness when it binds to the GABA receptors in the brain. One cup might not have been enough in the past, but if you double your dose, use a saucer to cover the mug and trap the heat, and leave it to brew for 30 minutes, you’ll be out like a light before you finish the cup.

2. Catch The Early Train To Bed
This piece of advice comes from my general practitioner, and it makes so much sense. With a complex skin routine and a fair amount of dawdling, it takes me at least half an hour to get into bed. It really makes no sense that I’m only starting my night routine as I’m meant to be hitting the hay. We know that our REM cycles are approximately 90 minutes long, so instead of getting ready at 10 pm, say, start washing your face and brushing your teeth when that first wave hits at 8.30 pm. It sounds early, but by the time you’re tucked up and comfortable, you’ll be ready for some rest.

3. No Devices Before Bed
You don’t need me to lecture you about the effect that blue light has on your circadian rhythm and melatonin production, so instead let this be a gentle reminder. Leave the laptops and televisions outside the bedroom, and your phones too if possible. For some, your smartphone may be your morning alarm, so consider switching it to ‘do not disturb’ or flight mode, and adjusting your screen settings to night-time friendly ones. Not only do these devices affect you chemically through the light sources, but they’re also just as stimulating as a cup of coffee! Phones, computers, and televisions are all designed to keep you awake and alert - meaning it’s impossible for your brain to truly switch off while you’re scrolling through social media.

4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
This is another tip courtesy of my lovely GP, and I’m sure she won’t mind me making her sound crass. Her rules explicitly state that the bed is for two things; sleep and sex - anything else should be done elsewhere. And while I love cosying up in bed on a rainy day and binge-watching a new series, it makes sense. Essentially with this rule, you’re training your brain to associate getting between the sheets with drifting of to sleep (or at least most of the time). It doesn’t mean you can’t spend downtime in your room, but instead of lounging about on your bed with a book, consider investing in a beautiful occasional chair for that space.

5. Drift Off To Yoga Nidra
Many teachers say that this ancient practice brings 4 hours of sleep into 30 minutes - so it’s as convenient and time-efficient as it is calming. Yoga Nidra isn’t the traditional asana (movement) style flow, but rather a guided meditation that takes you on a deeply relaxing journey throughout your practice. And while many classes are intended as a restful practice, I personally benefit from putting on a meditation after I finish my book and letting it guide me into my restful 8-hour slumber.

Sleep is undeniably important, but a huge issue is that we’re beginning to see it as a superiority thing - and if you’re anything like me, you’re spending too much time stressing out about it and not enough time actually doing it. So over the course of the next week, I encourage you to implement one of these rules each day and observe how your life turns around."
Above words from Tess, see her original article here

Have you any tips for a better nights sleep?
Do please share them in the comments.

Related Posts
If Sometimes Sleep is Elusive - Getting Quality Rest Helps -see here
Ten Reasons You're Always Tired (and what you can do about it) - see here
Computer or Phone - Tips to protect your eyes when staring at a screen - see here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


DVArtist said...

That is one thing I don't have trouble with. I have always slept well with wonderful dreams.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for the tips.
Sleep is an issue for me and has been for a very long time.

Valerie-Jael said...

Thanks for the good advice! Valerie

Divers and Sundry said...

Great ideas!

eileeninmd said...


Great suggestions for a better night's sleep.
Thanks for sharing. Take care, have a happy day!

Jules said...

I'm definitely going to try the tip about chamomile tea. X

sandy said...

ahh, those devices truly keep one awake - I know - I do this every night.


Buenos consejos para cuando lo necesite. De momento no tengo problemas para conciliar el sueño.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I drink coffee about 20 minutes before I go to sleep. Puts me out like a light. And if you turn the TV off, I'm awake like someone shook me. Seems I break all the rules, but these work for me. There's no way I can go to sleep without my cats and my tv on. I am definitely one of the outliers that breaks all the norms.

Tom said...

...typically this isn't a problem.

My name is Erika. said...

I've cut back on caffeine and that definitely helps me. This is an interesting read.

John's Island said...

Hi Jan,
First of all, you are an excellent writer. Second, today is Thankful Thursday. I am thankful for finding your blog. You have many great suggestions and I especially appreciate the 5 simple steps to a better night's sleep. I will be going to the store soon and will look for some chamomile tea. What a great recommendation! Thank you. Take care, my friend, and stay safe.

happyone said...

7 hours sleep for me is ideal. I usually sleep good but there are nights when I wake up and can't get back to sleep for a good long while.
Couldn't drink tea before bed - I'd be getting up to go to the bathroom all night. :)

peppylady (Dora) said...

Number three for me.

Debbie said...

awesome suggestions...i try to do most of these...still i have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep!!!

Evi Erlinda said...

The first one is my ritual before bed.

Margaret D said...

Good advice for those that can't get to sleep and there are many.
I'm asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and I drink tea sometimes before going to bed, and I read my phone or iPad but I'm quiet relaxing before I go..

Jo said...

Some good advice there. I go through phases of having troubled sleep so I shall try these.

linda said...

I have phases of insomnia tat last for weeks and it's really distressing. Lots of good advice in your post I have tried everything but I've found that if I manage to get some good light preferably sunlight in the morning it seems to help. I would love to be able to sleep 7 hours straight but I'm usually awake on and off throughout the night it's become normal for me.

Martha said...

Very good advice! Sleep is very important for our wellbeing.

Ygraine said...

Oh thank you SO much for this brilliant is exactly what I needed to read at this moment in time!!👍👍
I haven't been sleeping (or been able to concentrate) at all recently, and your great tips here have given me some hope!😊😊
Thank you so much!

Have a super weekend...and stay safe!

Hugs xxx

JFM said...

Great post and very helpful!!!
Thank you ☕🌙

At Home In New Zealand said...

You have some great ideas here. I have no trouble going to sleep (especially if I follow a set routine and turn out the light at a regular time). My issue is waking up after 5-6 hours and not being able to return to sleep - I may try the chamomile tea tip to see if that helps.

Jeanie said...

These are all good and many familiar but I have to say the chamomile tea is a new one and one I'll incorporate. I do remember my doc once saying to get some chamomile tea and that was ages ago. But this is a good one.

Rose said...

Sn interesting read...I needed this years ago. Now I fall asleep almost the instant my head hits the pillow.

Phil Slade said...

Dare I mention? A (small) glass of ouzo. But i so agree about Number Two.

Conniecrafter said...

there is nothing like a good nights sleep that's for sure!

Bill said...

I usually don't have a problem getting to sleep.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Great tips, Jan. I need to try chamomile tea again.