Life can be so unfair sometimes. Even when you’ve had a super busy day and you’re expecting to sleep like a stone, the sensation just doesn’t arrive when your head meets that pillow.
Tossing and turning can be a frustrating experience, especially if you need the rest and energy to do it all over again tomorrow. Or perhaps you were fast asleep, but something has aroused your attention and now you find yourself back wide awake.
Whatever state of awareness you’re at, don’t despair, because today we’re here with our step-by-step guide that’ll show you exactly what to do when you’re struggling to drift off at night.
What Is Keeping you Awake?
To understand why someone might struggle to fall asleep, we must first find out what’s keeping their dreams at bay. Unfortunately, in this fast, modern world of ours, there are plenty of culprits to blame:
It’ll probably come as little surprise to hear that mental health has a massive impact on our experience of sleep, but it can be possible to underestimate its true influence. When the likes of anxiety and depression set in, it can be difficult to switch them off when the lights go out.
The thoughts and feelings that are racing around the mind work well at keeping the body awake, and the tiredness that’s produced by a bad night’s sleep often contributes to the further deterioration of mental health.
Too Much Screen Time
As we discussed in one of our recent blogs, exposing yourself to too much screen time will certainly delay your ability to get to sleep. Blue light can be found in almost any form of artificial light, but is most common in phone screens, computer screens, and televisions.
Its influence will wreak havoc on your sleeping pattern, because it suppresses the body’s natural production of the dreamy sleep hormone melatonin; which is why screens are best avoided in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
Things like blue light blocking glasses are super effective at protecting the eyes from the sleep-depriving side effects of the luminous modern age.
Just quickly circling back to this idea of blue light sleep disruption, did you know that the biggest source of blue light in the world is actually the sun?
If the environment you’re sleeping in is too bright, whether it’s light from a lightbulb or the sun, the brightness of the environment could either prevent your body from preparing for its natural sleep cycle before bed, or disrupt your sleep when you’re already out.
Those who manage to avoid this problem usually do so by sleeping with blackout technology.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is really important for swift and peaceful sleep. Perhaps many of you have come across the advice not to eat after 10pm because it’ll stop you from sleeping well, but we think that it’s much more important to recognise the nutritional influence of what you’re putting in to your body; as many forms of food act as stimulants.
These include the likes of carbohydrates, refined sugars, and of course dairy too. But on the reverse, if you’re interested in taking a bite out of some of the very best autumnal ingredients that actually promote sleep, you should definitely head on over to one of our most delicious blogs yet.
Environmental noise has a surprisingly loud impact on our sleep, and even the noises that don’t necessarily wake you up will have a subconscious influence on the sleep cycle, lowering deep wave and REM-level sleep.
Instead, the noise will trigger an excess production of the cortisol and adrenaline hormones, whilst also raising the blood pressure and speeding up the heart rate. The very best way to avoid this unfortunate outcome is to sleep with a set of memory foam earplugs - the silence is golden!
What Should You Do If You Can't Sleep?
Whether you’ve woken up suddenly in the middle of the night, or you routinely battle with your consciousness to find rest, we’ll all be familiar with how inconvenient and frustrating the experience can be.
But rest assured, because there are a whole host of different techniques you can try out to find your inner-peace and blissful rest.
Try to Go Back to Sleep
If you suddenly find yourself wide awake, don’t panic! Try your best to relax and to keep your mind at peace.
Although it can sometimes be spontaneous, the process of falling back asleep usually takes anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes, and it’s important that during this time, you avoid anything that might stimulate your mind.
Instead, allow your entire body to relax as it falls deep into the mattress, and your mind falls swiftly back into your dreams.
Do Something Mundane
If after 20 minutes you’ve still got no luck, get out of bed and try to do something really dry and mundane. Maybe do a bit of cleaning, tidy your room, pack your bag for the morning, read 14th century romantic poetry; do anything but look at your phone or turn on a television.
Blue light is sleep’s all-time nemesis, and exposure to it will only prolong your problem.
As we mentioned earlier, negative thoughts are the worst for trying to get to sleep, and they can be at their loudest during the quiet of the night.
There are lots of options available to you that will help you to manage these feelings, and we always advise that you put pen to paper; writing the negative feelings down is a way to extract them from your mind.
During times of wakefulness, try to remember the better times and the happiness you felt during those moments. Smiling faces sleep a lot easier than sad ones.
We cannot believe how often this is overlooked, especially as we head into the chillier season.
Night-time temperature control is an absolute must, and a sleeping environment that is either too hot or too cold can actually be the cause of your disruption.
It’s recommended that your immediate surroundings should level between 15.6°C and 19.4°C, so keep in touch with your thermostat, and maybe rethink how many layers you’re either sleeping with, or sleeping without.
Although we’ve talked a lot about how mental health can impact your sleeping pattern, it should also be known that maintaining good physical health also contributes to your nighttime experience.
When muscles are sore and strained, the pain can facilitate insomnia, which is why small and gentle forms of exercise, like stretches, are a great way to ease the body back into deep and peaceful sleep.
Stretches are really effective at remedying your repairing muscles with increased blood flow and fresh oxygen, and we usually like to aid the process by having a soothing body wrap to hand.
If you do find yourself struggling to fall back asleep, the very worst thing you can do is remain in bed for hours on end, staring into the depths of your phone as you scroll from post to post.
So next time you’re trying to return to the serenity of your slumber, try giving a couple of our tips a go.
Discover more sleeping dos and don’ts by visiting our website: www.sleepsmug.com
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