In the this podcast, I’m hosted by Steve Nobel at The Soul Matrix to talk about my 7 Tips For Better Quality Sleep. You can listen to it in YouTube below, have a read in this blog or click here to listen to it in SoundCloud.
7 Tips For Better Quality Sleep
One of the issues I work on with my clients is sleep disturbance. Many of them report back to me that they’ve had the best night’s sleep in a long time after a healing session with me. I used to swing between insomnia and chronic fatigue, so I know first-hand what’s it’s like to really struggle with quality of sleep. I became so desperate that I’d try any suggestion or old wives tale that I heard about, which even found me bathing in chamomile teabags (it didn’t shift the insomnia, in case you were wondering, but it had a lovely relaxing scent). At one stage many, many years ago, a GP even prescribed me sleeping pills to try to break the cycle, but they just offered me a temporary state of being unconscious without the refreshing feeling of being recharged after a good night’s sleep. I had to find another solution and so I’d like to share with you my top 7 tips on what I have found to work for me personally. As with many things, we are all individual and unique, however you might find a few of these tips work for you too.
There is very seldom just 1 magic thing that fixes everything, and so what I have found is that a combination of things is what does it for me. None of the following tips seem to work on their own, however put together, and I’m sound asleep, waking refreshed in the morning.
1). Mobile Phones / Cell Phones
I have come to learn that a lot of these sleep tips are to do with messages to the brain and so my first tip is to switch your mobile phone to flight mode and silent at least half an hour before bedtime, for me it’s an hour before. I then use that time to slowly get ready for bed and read a bit before lights out. The reason is that the blue light emitted by your mobile phone screen stimulates your brain in a way to be awake and alert. This is obviously a problem if you’re wanting to relax and enter a sleep state and so it takes much longer to reach the specific brainwaves for optimal sleep if you’ve been staring at your screen until late at night. The same goes for tv and other electronic devices such as laptops and tablets. I’m also very sensitive to the electromagnetic wavelengths emitted by these devices, which is why I really do strongly advise putting them on flight mode (or aeroplane mode as some countries say). So, all electronic devices are ideally turned off and put away a minimum of half an hour before bed and if you’re going to read, it needs to be a proper book or one of the old style kindles with no backlight. (*blue light disrupts melatonin production.)
2). Dark Bedroom
This relates to my next tip which is to do with having a dark bedroom and so you want to turn everything off that emits any sort of light, getting the room as dark as possible. It’s been written about in many articles that even the very small red light of your tv in standby mode can affect your brain, telling it to be alert. I can believe it because I’ve struggled to fall asleep when I’ve accidentally put my electric toothbrush on charge in my bedroom. Even with my eyes closed I can still sense the little charging light. One of the windows in my bedroom has the blind hanging about an inch away from the window. I found a change in the quality of my sleep after moving to this home, which rectified itself once I covered this window with thick black paper cut specifically to size and stuck on with blutak just at night. Proper lined curtains and blackout blinds really are worth it!
Lights in general need to be considered. It’s only with the invention of the lightbulb that we have been staying up later at night. Our ancestors would have been in bed not long after the sun went down as there’s not a lot that can be done by candlelight with no TV. So I suggest that from about 7pm onwards, use dimmers or side lamps to light your home so you experience a nice transition between day and night. These new LED light bulbs are great, however most of them are blue light* and incredibly bright, therefore telling our brains to be active and alert. Definitely not conducive to gearing the body and mind for sleep. You can get special light bulbs that are termed “red light”, or like I say, just use side lamps for several hours before bed so the light is softer on the eyes. You can also get motion sensor floor lights to light your way to the bathroom if you need to get up in the middle of the night, rather than switching on a bright light that makes you feel like you’re being interrogated as you stumble through. (*blue light disrupts melatonin production.)
4). Pajamas / Sleepwear
Something I never considered but makes so much sense, is that even the clothes we wear send messages to our brains. If you go to bed wearing anything you have done exercise in, you’re telling your brain to get the body ready for a workout (I’m definitely guilty of this as I used to often grab yoga leggings out of my cupboard if my pajamas were in the wash). You then curl up in your bed but your brain is saying “Hey, I thought we were going to do exercise?” and so takes much longer to reach a proper sleep state. So only wear proper pajamas that you do nothing else in but sleep, so your brain and body can associate them with rest.
5). Work-free zone
Which takes me to my next tip on leaving all work and office related stuff out of the bedroom so your brain can associate your bed with rest. So many of us sit up in bed with our laptops catching up on work, or even sending that quick email from our mobile phones before lights out. This can lead the brain to associating the bed and bedroom with work, so you put your head on your pillow and your brain is fired up, being active and alert for cognitive function. You’re definitely going to be counting sheep!
6). Lavender Essential Oil
Every night I rub a little bit of lavender essential oil on my temples and jaw as it has relaxing and mild sedative properties. It’s suggested to dilute it with a carrier oil, avoiding the eyes, and a little goes a long way with just 1 or 2 drops needed due to it being so concentrated. It’s very important to get a good quality brand as there are many synthetic products out there that have zero of the plant’s benefits, they just smell nice. I use the brand dōTERRA but I’ve heard that Young Living and Tisserand are of a similar high quality. You can even put a drop on your pillow or use it in a cold water diffuser while you sleep.
7). Relax, Your Brain Is Half Asleep
Now for what I’ve found to be the absolute game-changer when all of the above just isn’t enough:
There is an author called Anthony William (you might know him from the Medical Medium series) and in one of his books he mentions that when we wake in the middle of the night, half the brain is still “asleep”. So the key is to relax in the knowledge that at least half of your brain is resting, don’t panic while tossing and turning, desperately wishing to fall asleep again. I tested this out over time on a few rare nights where I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Instead of waking up in the morning feeling mildly hungover with a dull headache, I was actually surprisingly alert and feeling pretty refreshed. So just relax, perhaps do some deep breathing and I find using the time to be mindful can also help, such as focusing on the softness of my pajamas, how comfortable my bed is, my feet feeling coolness as I move them under the duvet and how cozy I feel if it’s winter.
A few other tips to mention briefly are to stop drinking caffeine from the early afternoon onwards, keep your room temperature cool as heat can disrupt your sleep, and try to go to bed at the same time each night to establish a routine.
Guided meditations can be hugely beneficial in relaxing the body and mind, preparing you for a peaceful sleep and so look out for the Sleep Meditation I’ve specially recorded for you. Click here!
I hope these tips are of some help and it will be wonderful if you could add any of your top sleep tips in the comments below.
Wishing you sweet dreams tonight!