Over the years, lack of sleep has driven me crazy. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to be walking around with only an hours sleep and I was exhausted, to say the least. It not only started to impact my day-to-day life but my health was deteriorating too.
It was the start of this year when I decided that something about my routine had to change in order for my sleep to improve so I decided to do some research. Little did I know, I was breaking pretty much every sleep rule ever made. And that’s when I decided to create my own night routine with my own rules to follow. I can happily say I am now a sleep convert.
Of course, there are still nights where all I do is lay there and worry that I’m not getting enough sleep, but I can finally say that most of the time, I do get my sleep allocation thanks to the changes (and some sacrifices) I made.
If this sounds all too familiar and your lack of sleep is affecting your life, I hope this post can help you. Being able to have your full eight hours sleep will change your life and things truly do start to fall into place after that.
Why is it important that we have eight hours sleep?
Ensuring we get a good nights sleep doesn’t just help us feel better the next day. It helps us retain our memory, decrease the risk of health conditions and help look after our immune system. Not only this, when our minds are asleep, our bodies are actually ‘awake’ and at their busiest, repairing damages and helping us fight off illness. And even better? When we use the term beauty sleep, we’re not joking. At night, our skin is more receptive to what we put on it i.e. skincare and as we get older, it’s the time our skin boosts and protects our collagen levels.
I always used my phone before going to bed and I’d gotten into that awful habit of giving myself ‘five more minutes‘ but that would very quickly turn into an hour or sometimes longer. I did it because I classed it as a time for me to relax before bed but in reality, it was only stimulating my brain more. Since finally letting go of using electronics at night (laptop included!), I’ve started doing two things; reading (a proper book) and meditating. Both of these fulfilled my wish of relaxation before sleep and now my phone doesn’t get a second thought. Reading helps alleviate the stresses of the day and separate them from your sleeping state, ensuring you fall asleep much quicker and maintain your sleep through the night. Just like reading, meditation prepares your both your body and mind for rest. It’s also a natural sleep aid as well – what more could you want!
I also recommend putting the ‘do not disturb’ feature on your phone whilst sleeping so you’re not woken up by the constant buzzing. It also helps to leave your phone across the room, that way the temptation isn’t there and you have to get out of bed to turn your alarm off in the morning.
As someone who is a huge worrier, it wasn’t uncommon for me to lay in bed thinking of all the things I had forgotten to do or the things that were yet to come. That’s when I started ‘brain dumping’. If at night I remembered something that needed doing or I thought of a worry, I’d write it down in the notebook I keep by the side of my bed. That way I had acknowledged my thoughts but didn’t need to act on them until the following day.
Caffeine and I have had a strong relationship for several years now. It was my saviour every morning before school and college. But it became something I consumed too much of (too much coffee!?). I’d be getting through 5-7 cups of coffee a day and that’s not even incorporating the tea I drank at night as well. I’m not saying you have to give up all caffeine (if you can – great!) but try to cut down on it as much as you can and don’t consume it for at least four hours before bedtime – I always say start cutting it out by 2pm though! Good replacements are herbal teas like chamomile or mint (my favourites), as they don’t contain caffeine and they’re natural sleep remedies as well.
Limit Your Work
I’m someone who could easily work through the night without a second thought, so I find this the most important thing to follow. Every night I set myself a 9pm cut off, this means I don’t do any work past this time, that goes for college material and blogging. Sometimes it’s hard when I know I could finish something that night if I carried on or if I’m on a creative roll but being strict with this is important. It not only stops me from staying up all night but it also helps form a routine.
I’ve saved the best till’ last! Forming a sleep routine is something I wish I’d done sooner because it’s my favourite thing. You can do so much to benefit not only your sleep but your life in general. Of course, this is the time for you to prepare yourself for the night, but it’s also the perfect time to incorporate self-care as well. I personally start by cleansing/taking my makeup off after dinner and then getting into my PJ’s. I like to flick over to netflix and light a candle so I can really start to unwind. Once it hits 9pm, I like to start switching things off and start reading a book – maybe with a nice herbal tea. Once I feel ready for bed, I take ten minutes to reflect on the day so I can see what I’ve accomplished and what to be thankful for.
How do you make sure you get a good night’s sleep? Let me know your tips & tricks below in the comments!