Sleep is great. Really it is the best damn thing around. We love sleeping. It gives you energy, makes doing stuff easier, gives you a break from daily stresses and struggles, helps your body repair itself, and makes you remember stuff. Science. But we know that there are times in life when catching the ZZZs becomes less of a priority or just downright difficult.
That’s why we have put together a super-easy guide to follow to getting your sleep routine on fleek for 2020 and beyond. Do these things in order, and you’ll be the most chilled out well rested person you know.
Step One: Think about how many ZZZs you actually need
We are all pretty guilty of thinking we actually don’t need that much to function. The thing is, the NHS says that one in three of us suffers from poor sleep. It might not seem like too much of a big deal if you’re in the habit of doing it, but not sleeping enough can lead to poor memory, lack of concentration, overeating and even anxiety. So maybe have a think about how you’ve been feeling lately and make some changes.
Step Two: Set up your room to be good for sleep
Your bedroom is your haven. But if you use it all day for working, playing video games, or other stuff, the chances are it’s a bit of a mess by the end of the day. Take ten minutes to make it cosy. Make your bed, tidy up the floor and surfaces. Similarly, if you work from home a lot, try to do it somewhere else in the house than in your bedroom. It might not sound like a big deal, but keeping your room for sleep related activities is a great way to separate your daily life from when you need to get some shut eye.
Step Three: Set a bedtime
Ok, we know you aren’t six, and that maybe you think that the whole idea of having a bedtime should have gone out the window as soon as you left Primary School behind. But having a bedtime routine of some sort has been proven to improve the quality of your sleep, as well as the time it takes to actually drop off. No one is saying it has to be teeth at 7pm and bed by 8pm, but having some sort of loose structure to the end of your day instead of binge-watching true crime documentaries until 4am is always going to help you get the rest you need.
Step Four: Put down the phone an hour before
So you would have almost definitely heard by now about the detrimental effects that screen time has on our ability to catch some ZZZs. Well, they ain’t lying. Blue light in screens tricks your circadian rhythms into thinking it’s still daylight, meaning your natural bodily response to the fading light at the end of the day gets stopped in its tracks. This makes it much harder to fall asleep naturally, and then to get good quality sleep. Good news is though, putting down your phone an hour before the end of the day should sort you out.
Step Five: Get your ohm on
So what are you gonna do without your phone in that hour before bed? Well, have a think about the kind of stuff that you would find relaxing that doesn’t involve a screen. Try meditation or mindfulness, art, colouring, reading, even just chilling on your bed listening to music. Whatever you think might do the trick, give it a go! Why not try one for a few nights and see how you get on – if it doesn’t work, try something else. There is no one right way to do this – and it’s going to be down to you to see what works.
Trying to find more activities that you can do when you’re struggling to sleep? Here are 50 different things to do.
Step Six: Breath deeply to calm anxiety
If you find your brain is still going like a runaway train after all this, get under the covers, get super comfy, and just lie there. Breathe deeply in and out and try to focus on the rise and fall of your chest and the covers around you. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can jot down anything that might be roaming around your head so you know you won’t forget the important stuff. Put some chilled out classical music on, and just breathe. You will fall asleep soon, we promise.
And there you have it, six simple steps to building the best bedtime routine. Not only have we got your back with this post, but we also have a downloadable sleep planner and tracker here so you can sort your life out and get those forty winks when you need them.
Download our sleep planner and tracker here
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Need to talk to someone about anxiety? You can reach out to one of our Digital Mentors here, who will provide confidential support and advice.