Five tips for a better nights sleep.
1. Melatonin - not from a bottle - by going outside in the daylight melatonin is naturally produced in the brain. This is the only way this sleep hormone is produced, so the more time spent in daylight, the more melatonin you have building up each day. The brain doesn't store melatonin so we make it new each day - the more we have the easier it is to sleep.
2. Get a good sleep routine. If you know how long you need to sleep each night (usually 6-10 hours) and what time you need to be up each morning you can work out approximately what your bedtime should be. So if you need to wake up at seven and you know that you need eight hours sleep, you need to be asleep by 11. Simple maths. It's best to stick to your routine even at the weekend as your body will thank you for it.
3. Be aware of your circadian rhythm. Adult humans have a circadian rhythm of 90 minutes which controls energy level and our sleep cycle. When you notice yourself yawning this is you going into the dip of your circadian rhythm where your energy levels naturally fall - this is a good time to go to bed. After you reach that dip your energy level begins to rise again so it's harder to go to sleep.
4. General good sleep hygiene. This means your bed is your bed so best not to do your latest project checking emails and watch films in bed. Although it can be tempting it's better to do these things in a different place if you can, or change your environment a little at night if you have a small space. Your bed should ideally be associated only with sleep.
5. Reducing stimulants and stimulation especially in the evening. Caffeine is obviously a stimulant, so is alcohol, TV screens, loud music, phones. Simple changes such as don't drink caffeine after after lunchtime, reducing it (gradually over time is best). Drink less alcohol which is a stimulant even if it feels relaxing it lowers your quality of sleep. Take the TV out of your bedroom and try and keep your phone in a different room. The Psychotherapist and Neuroscientist Daniel Seigel recommends stopping highly stimulating activity such as TV as much as two hours before bedtime. If something is on your mind it can keep you awake. Write it down and deal with it tomorrow. Complete tasks that need completing, tell someone your problem and get support, or hire a counsellor or psychotherapist if it's persistent intrusive thoughts, memories or worries (in the UK try the Counselling Directory here. Imagine what your ancient ancestors before electricity would have been doing after the sun goes down. Our culture has evolved since then, though we haven't that much!
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A counsellor (Prof. Dip) and psychotherapist (MSc) sharing inspiration and tips for better wellbeing. My knowledge is freely given, please feel free to share after asking! Let's help each other lead satisfying meaningful lives.