It’s International Sleep Day and if you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, keep reading for our top five tips to help send you into the land of nod…

1. Create a bedtime routine

A nightly routine helps you relax, fall asleep and be better prepared for the next day. Here are a few examples of activities you can include in your own bedtime routine.
– Make tomorrow’s to-do list. Writing down all the things on your mind that you need to do will set your mind at ease and allow you to relax.
– Set out what you need for tomorrow. The habit of laying out your clothes for the next day or preparing your lunch the night before are rituals that help relax us for sleep, particularly if you have a busy schedule the next day.
– Have a hot shower or soak in the bath. Loosening up and calming down for bed. Immersion in water can be very therapeutic; soothing both body and mind.
– Stretch. Take a few minutes before bed to stretch your body, this can assist in relieving built up muscle tension and stress from the day.

2. Lavender

Lavender in a tea or lavender essential oil in a diffuser can help promote a good night’s sleep. Lavender offers calming and soothing properties that help you to fall asleep faster and improve the overall quality of your sleep. Lavender can also increase slow-wave sleep which is important for slowing your heartbeat and relaxing the muscles.

3. Only go to bed when you’re tired

It is important your mind associates the bedroom only with sleep. Regularly using your bed for activities such as watching television, eating, working or using your mobile phone can cause problems when it comes to sleep time. Going to bed before you are sleepy or drowsy can result in a long period of being awake. It is also important to control the amount of time in bed lying awake. If you find you are worrying or not sleepy for more than 15-20 minutes in bed move to another room to try to do something relaxing like reading a book. Have a chat to your WholeLife pharmacist for other tips on how to help you fall asleep quicker.

4. Exercise

Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, can assist with better sleep. Likewise, exercise can help increase time spent in restorative deep sleep, meaning you will wake up feeling more energised. Regular exercise also helps to reduce your stress and anxiety which is a common source of trouble falling asleep.

5. Meditation

If thoughts and worries are keeping you up at night, meditation might be an option to help improve your sleep or quality of sleep. Meditation can promote a calm mind allowing the body to relax. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular forms of bedtime meditation. This involves deep belly breathing and simply paying attention to your body; the sound of your breath, the feeling of your bed, the rise and fall of the belly and chest. There are some fantastic apps out there to guide you. And remember, it normally takes several weeks of relaxation techniques to improve sleep patterns so set a time each evening to focus on you.