Sleep is awesome. It improves our mood, sharpens our concentration and increases our resilience. But sometimes there are barriers at home that stop us from getting as much rest as would be good for us.
Whether it’s people up and about at night, a stressful situation or loud traffic, there are heaps of reasons why your home situation might be disrupting your sleep. Here are five tips on how to give your body and mind the rest they in they need in the place you are.
1. Reduce noise and light
Is there a lot of noise keeping you awake? A baby crying? Cars outside? Try picking up some ear buds (the squishy kind – not your headphones) from your local chemist, or put a jumper under your door to filter out some of the sound. It’s also a good idea to cover up as a much artificial light in your room as possible, like a blinking computer screen or phone.
2. Be smart with your smart phone
An hour before bed, switch your brain into rest-mode by doing passive stuff (like reading or watching Netflix) rather than active stuff (like social media or video games.) Turning down the brightness of your screen can make a big difference. It’s also worth checking if your device has a “night mode” to reduce the amount of brain-waking blue light.
3. Watch out for some substances
The things we put into our body can mess with the way it rests. Here are a few non-illicit drugs to avoid before bedtime:
• Caffeine: It’s easy to say “no coffee after lunch time” when you’re trying to reduce how much caffeine you’re having. But it’s also important to think about the impact energy drinks, tea and chocolate have on your sleep, too.
• Alcohol: You might find it easier to get to sleep quickly after a few drinks, but booze can actually make it harder to stay asleep, and to get the quality deep sleep that helps us feel rested.
4. Be OK with waking up
If you’re waking up in the middle of the night, it can be easy to stress out. But the most helpful thing to do is to accept that this is just something that happens – and find a way to be restful while awake. Meditation or reading are two good options to try. If you have to get up, try to reduce the amount of light you encounter – this will make it easier to get back to sleep when you’re ready.
5. Hide the clock
It’s that classic scenario. You can’t get to sleep, or have woken up, so you look at the clock. It’s later than you thought. Then you work out how little sleep you’ve got left. You freak out, and can’t get enough sleep because you’re too busy thinking about the fact that you won’t get enough sleep. The trick is to not to looking at the time at all. Turn around your clock or keep your phone out of reach.