Five Timing Tips for Better Sleep
Tip 1 – Determine your best bed time
To give yourself the best chance of getting at 7.5 hours sleep, you need to go to bed at the right time. There’s no point expecting 7.5 hours sleep if you have to be up at 6.30 am but don’t go to bed until midnight. So, count backwards from the time you need to get up to determine what time you need to go to bed. For example, if you need to wake up at 6:30 am, then you’ll need to be asleep by 11 pm. This may mean you need to be in bed by 10.30 pm to give yourself time to read or settle down.
Tip 2 – Optimize your exposure to melatonin
Melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep, is at its highest levels at 10 pm, so to get the most benefit from it, you need to be asleep before then. If you are accustomed to going to bed later than that, this may take a bit of planning. You may need to get into bed by 9.30 pm if you like to read before falling to sleep.
Tip 3 – Minimize disturbances
If you are awakened during the night, your sleep cycle will be disrupted and you won’t get enough deep, restorative sleep. Is your cat or dog waking you? Is there noise that is waking you up? What steps can you take to minimize these disruptions? Perhaps you need to make some adjustments or communicate with others in your living space to figure out how you can make sure your sleep is uninterrupted.
Tip 4 – Get comfortable
Do you need a new mattress? Does your pillow work well for your head and neck? Is your bedding cozy, clean and hypo-allergenic? Can you make your sleeping room dark and the right temperature for you?
Tip 5 – Calm your mind
If you find it difficult to switch off when you go to bed and your mind just keeps going over and over things you might find this simple relaxation technique helps. Think about each of your body parts starting from your toes and working up. Breathe in while you wiggle your toes; breathe out as you release any worries or thoughts. Breathe in as you gently squeeze the muscles in your legs; breathe out as you relax your muscles and let go of any tension you are holding on to. Continue this as you work up your body to your head, and if you notice any thoughts, remind yourself that you can handle them tomorrow (you can even write them on a notepad to remind you if that helps). Allow your focus to be on your dreams.
I usually lie on my back and take 10 loooooooong, deeeeeeeeep breaths. Sometimes I don't even think I get to 10!