You’re in the mood, the bedroom is calling. You do all the necessary foreplay – you’ve showered, brushed your teeth, you’ve stripped down to your underwear – but when you hop into bed, you just can’t seem to do your thing…? Frustrating, right, and actually not all that uncommon. Sleep deprivation affects more of us than it doesn’t, and it has a whole load of negative consequences attached.
The good news is that there’s plenty of things you can try before turning to the doctor to help yourself get some shut eye.
The right tools for the job?
How can you float off to sleep when your mattress feels like a rock? Nothing about a spring digging into your side when you turn over says “floaty”. Perhaps the inadequacy of your mattress is a bit more subtle, it could be disrupting your sleep without you even realising. If your mattress is getting on a bit, chances are it’s not serving you as well as it used to. A good mattress should offer support, comfort, a whole lot of bounce, and cooling. Does it sound like a new mattress is in the lineup for you? Head over to The Dozy Owl for the low down on your top choices!
The bed on which you lay isn’t the only sleep tool you could be utilising. There’s plenty of sleep apps, or more advanced devices, that track your sleep cycle and collect data on how well you sleep. You can use this information to figure out which nights are causing you more trouble and see if there’s a link between the days activities or moods that may be causing sleepless nights. Then you can attempt to alter the pattern.
You may find it boring, but our bodies like routine, and we subconsciously learn habits without realising, so teach your body something it can roll with. Having a set bedtime isn’t childish, it’s good for you and helps you get into a healthy sleep routine. Even if you aren’t getting sleep, it’s important to stick to your timetabled sleep hours and stay in bed during that time, remember, your body learns. On that note, try to only use your bed for sleep (and the other thing) but don’t use it to hang out, let your body learn the correct association.
Avoiding caffeine after midday may seem like a no brainer, but I bet you’re not practicing it. You’ll probably find you don’t need the caffeine so much once you’ve mastered the sleep, anyways. Another thing you need to learn when you’ve had enough of is all your devices. Stop checking your notifications right up until it’s time to sleep, it works your mind up causing anxiety rather than winding down, and the blue light from your device reduces the production of sleep hormones so that your body thinks it’s still day. It’s shooting yourself in the foot, really.
That said, you can positively tap into the hormones regulating your circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to more bright light during the day. This helps to set your sleep wake cycle straight and send a clearer signal later that it must be coming up to bedtime (as long as you avoid such light in the evening).
There’s no need to save sleep until your dead, use this knowledge to you advantage to craft a killer sleep routine.