We all know that good quality sleep is really important for your health and quality of life.
The problem is how to actually get this sleep that you need so desperately.
Getting a good night’s sleep is not just going to happen. It needs a bit of work and perseverance.
You need a “Good Night’s Sleep Plan”
You have to decide what you will need to do and change so you can sleep properly.
Get important things done during the day so you don’t have to start playing catch up at night. This might involve cutting out some time-wasting activities. You know what they are. 🙂
You need time to adjust to this new lifestyle. You are forming new habits and it will take time to get used to them.
Your family may have to make some adjustments as well and this will also take time. There may be resistance from those around you who are used to seeing you awake late at night.
Expect some push-back and perhaps some grumbling here and there. If you don’t get any, that is fantastic. If you do, stay focused and don’t give up.
Don’t get drawn into activities that will stop you from getting to bed on time. Some things you do at night can be done just as well during the day without sacrificing you sleep.
Non-urgent emails and messages do not have to be answered immediately. Find a convenient time to answer them the next day.
Things don’t always go according to plan. If your plan falls apart today, try again tomorrow. See if there’s anything you need to change in your routine to make it work better. Maybe you need to give yourself more time or cut down on some activities.
You can’t always change your environment so focus on the things that are within your control.
Cut down on coffee
I personally love coffee and I usually have at least one cup most days. Even if you have more than one cup a day, try not to drink coffee after midday. This allows your body to break down the coffee before your bedtime. Otherwise you may end up hyperactive and fidgety when you should be calm and peaceful.
Invest in sleep
Don’t be afraid to invest in sleep aids if you need them, especially at the beginning of your journey to better sleep.
Your action plan for a great night’s sleep
This might seem like overkill but you’re more likely to succeed if you have a plan.
Write down all the things you do in the evening in sequence and time yourself. You may not realise just how much time it takes to bathe, eat, brush your teeth etc.
Sort out your sleep timing
Decide what time you need to sleep to wake up rested and on time the next morning. Most people need 6-9 hours of sleep. Let’s assume you need 7 hours of sleep and you need to start your day at 5am. You would need to be asleep at 10pm the night before.
Arrange all your activities so that you’re in bed at least 20 minutes before you need to sleep. If you’ve done your prep and planning beforehand this will be much easier.
This gives you enough time to settle down and get comfortable well before it’s time to sleep.
Finding that it’s past your bedtime and that you’re obviously not going to get the hours of sleep that you need is enough to keep you anxious and awake.
Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. If you don’t turn off your phone at least mute your notifications. You may also mute calls from contacts that are not on your priority list.
Switch off as many lights as you can one hour before bedtime. This will help your brain to start winding down to prepare for sleep.
Stretch before bedtime
A few gentle stretches can help you relax and set you up for sleep. Some of my favourite yoga stretches include:
- child’s pose
- cat and cow
- forward bend
Here’s a great non-yoga stretching routine.
You don’t have to do all the stretches in the video. Just doing a few will be very useful.
Use your sleep aids
Physical sleep aids include:
- sleep mask,
- white noise / pink noise,
- acupressure mat,
You may also decide to use supplements to help you sleep, at least initially. These may include:
- valerian root
- magnolia bark
Do you need a small generator to help you sleep?
Stewing in your sweat at night is definitely not going to help you sleep. Running a big diesel generator is really expensive. You may find it worthwhile to get a small petrol-powered generator that can power some fans and a few lights through the night.
This may save you some money in the long run, especially as petrol is much cheaper than diesel. And as our epileptic power supply doesn’t look like it’s improving any time soon…
More importantly, you’ll sleep better.
Our small generator has been a god-send. No point doing “big man” while you’re tossing and turning and marinating in your sweat every night.
….or a rechargeable fan?
If you live alone you may just get a rechargeable fan to help you sleep at night. This is definitely a cheaper option with a few disadvantages:
- The battery may not be big enough to power the fan for the whole night.
- You need a power supply to charge the battery.
- If you need to buy more than one fan, the price adds up. You may be better off getting a small generator.
Supplements for better sleep
Usually, you need to take these 30-60 minutes before bedtime e.g chamomile tea, melatonin, valerian root. Some may be taken in the morning as their effect builds up over time.
Lavender oil can be used as soon as you’re ready to sleep.
Deep breathing and meditation
Calm your mind.
Having thoughts racing through your mind at night is one of the best ways to stay awake. Try some deep breathing exercises. This can be enough to relax you even without meditation.
If you would like to try some meditation for sleep, find out more.
Using a meditation app at night may not be a good idea because, obviously, it involves using your phone which you want to avoid just before bedtime.
Some people discourage meditation at night because they feel that you won’t get all the benefits at this time. But if your mind is racing, a mini meditation session may be just what you need.
The idea is to picture a field and imagine sheep jumping over a fence one by one and counting them. This is a repetitive tasks that can help you unwind and quieten your mind. Some people have even suggested counting backwards to stop your mind from drifting.
This does not work for everyone and some people even find it stressful. If you find that after 10 minutes you’re still awake, maybe counting sheep is not for you.
Keep a small notebook next to your bed. You may remember something you need to do the next day. It’s less stressful to write it down than to try and keep it on your memory until morning.
Use a blue light filter at night
If you absolutely must use your phone or computer at night, get a blue light filter app. This will warm up the temperature of your screen to reduce your blue light exposure.
I actually have my blue light filter on all day with increased filtering from sunset to sunrise.
It’s too much work I hear you Cry!
I know this might look like a lot to coordinate but it really isn’t. After deciding what it is that is stopping you from sleeping, write down your plan of action. I’m not joking. Write it down.
Decide on your routine. Give everything a time. When will you eat dinner, brush your teeth, stretch, do your nightly skincare routine (you do have one don’t you?), get into bed?
Will you need earplugs or a sleep mask? Put them next to your bed so you don’t have to look for them when you should be relaxing.
What has helped you? Leave a comment and let me know.