There is little more frustrating than the inability to get a good night’s sleep. When sleep will not come, you feel as if you are completely helpless.
In reality, research suggests that up to 60% of people struggle to sleep well at night.
The occasional evening where drifting off to sleep presents a challenge is no real cause for concern. But when issues with sleep are chronic or continuous, action should be taken to turn things around.
Consulting with a doctor to discuss your concerns is essential. This will help you determine whether you have a genuine sleep disorder, and how to manage it if so.
Otherwise, getting a good night’s sleep is more about taking things back to basics. As far as the science of restful sleep is concerned, enjoying restful evenings need not be complicated.
Here are four of the most effective ways to ensure you enjoy restful nights and energised mornings:
Going to bed early with the intention of going to sleep early is fine. By contrast, lying in bed for long periods of time before turning out the lights is inadvisable.
During the day, the body gradually builds an ‘appetite’ for sleep. The desire to go to bed increases and is satisfied when you crawl under the covers. But if you do not subsequently go to sleep, this natural craving quickly subsides. Where possible, it is better to delay getting into bed until you actually plan on you going to sleep.
When finding it difficult to get to sleep, the tendency is to stare at the clock. The first thing most people do if they wake up during the night is look what time it is; two unfortunate habits both counterproductive and completely pointless.
If you have set your alarm for the time you need to get up, why do you need to know the time right now? All you will do is stress yourself out, thinking about how little sleep you are likely to get and how terrible the morning will be. During the night, ignorance can indeed be bliss where the time is concerned.
The human body and brain are designed to react instinctively to natural daylight. When basking in natural light, your body knows it is daytime and time to be energised. When things get dark, dull and dreary, your body thinks it is time to go to bed.
This is why spending time in darker interiors with little to no natural light can be draining; if natural light is not readily available, switch to bulbs that replicate natural light.
You also need to provide yourself with a quiet, cosy and dark sanctuary for sleeping. Darkness prompts the body to produce and release melatonin, aka the sleep hormone.
If your bedroom is excessively bright at night, consider making the switch to blackout blinds and/or window shutters. Just as light during the day keeps the body and brain awake, darkness in the evening aids restful sleep.
In reality, research suggests that up to 60% of people struggle to sleep well at night