World Sleep Day 2020
Editor: Emma Rice
When you’ve had a long day the only thing you want to do is to drift off to sleep and relax, but sometimes this can be hard. The two key steps to falling asleep is to relax your body and shut down a busy mind.
In order for your brain to feel at ease, you need to detach yourself from the stressors of the day, if you are thinking about your day and what you have planned for tomorrow this can trigger the release of stress hormones.
Stress hormones can elevate your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. These elements all prevent your mind to switch off so your body can rest, so just how can we relax our minds before we sleep?
In light of World Sleep Day on Friday 13th March 2020, the experts at Forest Healthcare have shared their top tips for clearing your mindset for an uninterrupted sleep.
The same as you have a wake-up routine you should have one in place for winding down. Our body craves routines and likes to know what is coming next, by creating a pre-sleep ritual you can establish a clear link between certain activities and sleeping. For example, reading before bed will help your body know that reading means sleep, the aim is to relax your mind and body and set it up for sleep. Leave aside 30 minutes for pre-sleep time.
If you are stressed or worries it can be hard to distract yourself from it. A mental exercise helps your brain to focus away from your worries, it can be as simple as ‘name every animal starting with B’. Another technique is to recite lyrics from a favourite song.
Methods which involve physical activities will really help you to reduce your anxiety and racing thoughts. The most effective method is progressive muscle relaxation, which is going through each muscle group, tensing and then relaxing it – this is followed by deep breathing which will help link your brain to calm settings.
Each day spend 10 minutes writing down what’s on your mind and what you’re doing about it. When you’re in bed you can use this to ask yourself what you’re worrying about at night. Any thought that has been dealt with in the day can be checked off – this will help to create a ‘sense of relief’ but avoid writing any lists before bedtime since you need the separation from these thoughts at night.
Any screens that are in your bedroom are a sign off distraction. Your phone, tablet and other screens can mess with your sleep. This is because the screens give off a blue light which signals your body to stop making melatonin (the hormone that controls when you feel sleepy). This light is keeping your brain alert alongside any noises the device is making. By having a no screen-zone you can rid any disturbances.
Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan; this nutrient is critical in helping the body to release a hormone known as serotonin. Serotonin is key to make you feel relaxed, the hormone aids the body to sleep and as milk is rich in calcium and magnesium it helps you to maintain that deep sleep all night.
Picture your most relaxing place to be, it could be on a tropical beach or it could be in your family home next to the fireplace. Visualise yourself in that peaceful setting, see and feel everything that will be in your surroundings. This tricks your mind to be focused of your happy place and will make you feel at ease and content.
Arrrrrr. Im just going to lay down for an hour.
Sleep well tonight
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