As the world has now passed a year’s worth of isolation and pandemic life, many people have noticed shifts in their daily lives. The ability to get enough sleep is a common issue that many are facing; some are spending more time at night attempting to sleep rather then actually sleeping. So, we thought we would explore how different people catch their Z’s.
Implementing an exercise routine or changing up an existing routine can sometimes go a long way to helping tire yourself out. It could be as simple as taking a walk around the block before bed – fresh air and stretching your legs an hour before climbing into bed can help wind down both your brain and get rid of any excess energy. Stretching and gentle movement before bed such as toe touching, a swim or a light yoga routine can also help to moderate breath and prepare your body for sleep.
It may seem obvious, but with coffee shops on every corner and the limited opportunities to see others – caffeine intake can be upped or shifted to later in the day in order to catch up with a friend on a walk or a patio tea session. Caffeine intake should be monitored if you feel that you are having problems getting to sleep. Caffeine can stay present in your body for up to 8 hours so it may be important to consider when you are drinking your coffee and tea and ensure that you are continuing to drink lots of water.
Some people also take care in creating a night-time routine can also be helpful – consider planning a bath, listening to soothing music playlist or a meditation. There are many apps and Youtube videos available for free that will walk you through visualizations or meditations completely tailored to relaxing you and bringing you to sleep.
Reading a couple chapters from a book is also helpful to work into a routine. However, if you are a digital e-reader type of person ensure that you give yourself a break from any screens or other technology for at least an hour before bedtime – the blue light can be disruptive to your sleep cycle as it restricts the production of melatonin which can effect sleep cycles for the next 24 hours.
Some people also have claimed that medical procedures such as acupressure or massage have gone a long way to assisting them to catch more sleep at night. In addition to this, natural options that could be explored are sleepy-time teas and scents such as lavender and chamomile in the form of essential oils in sachets or oil burners.
It is also important to know when to stop trying so hard, sometimes we can focus too much on attempting to fall asleep – it can be helpful to get up out of bed if the first couple of attempts of trying to sleep are unsuccessful and try again after reading a chapter of a book on the couch or drinking a warm glass of milk with honey at the kitchen table.
For those who wake up in the middle of the night it has been suggested that keeping a pad of paper and pen by the bedside can be helpful. If you wake from stresses or worries, writing them down for reflection or to avoid forgetting something in the morning. A dream journal (a dedicated pad of paper or little book) is also a common technique to work with for unsettling dreams.
Finally – as with anything health related if you find a sleep issue persists seek out professional help; check in with your doctor and explore your options.