When was the last time you had a great night’s sleep? The fact is that very few people actually sleep well. Does that surprise you or did you think you were the only one who wakes up bleary-eyed and needing a few more hours in bed? We’re not talking about full-blown insomnia, where the sufferers usually need some form of medication to sedate them for the sake of their health and sanity. We’re referring to the more common varieties of disturbed or restless sleep that leave you feeling muzzy-headed and half-asleep in the mornings. And it’s more widespread than you might suspect.
Part of the problem can be attributed to the increasing levels of stress that everyone seems to be enduring these days. No doubt about it – stress is a major culprit when it comes to losing out on a good night’s sleep. People complain of tossing and turning, unable to relax, chewing over their problems and difficulties in the small hours instead of resting in a deep and refreshing slumber. But is this inevitable? Do we have to let things slide until the only solution is a foil packet of sleeping pills by the bedside and the risk of side-effects and possible addiction? Well, if we can learn to relax before we hit the sack, there’s a much greater chance that we’ll discover the joys of truly restful sleep. And how, you may ask, do we do that? The answer lies in developing a routine before you go to bed each night. You develop an incredibly positive habit that creates a fabulous expectation that, as soon as you step into your bedroom, you begin to wind down. You build the expectation that you’re going to welcome a great night’s sleep. Keep the bedroom tidy. Avoid all alcohol for at least four hours before you go to bed. It will wake you up! Remove all the clutter. Banish the TV, laptop, cell phone and anything that could disturb you. The bedroom is fa place or relaxation and sleep. A temple of calm and stillness. No fighting or arguing. No food either. Take a warm bath or shower and let the water wash away the cares and worries of the day. Use subdued lighting. Remove all blue lights, no matter how small, since they trigger responses in the brain that make you wake up. Practise the art of relaxing every muscle in your body, breathing more deeply and gently until you start to feel the calming effects of letting go of your stress. Breathe and tell yourself that you are going to sleep really deeply and well. Say to yourself that you’re going to wake up feeling totally refreshed and ready for whatever the day may bring.
These techniques have been very well researched and they’re very, very effective. The more you practise them, the easier they will seem, and the more noticeable the results. Most of our stress behaviour is really a deeply-embedded habit. Once you get into the habit of relaxing before bed and releasing all the physical stress, you’ll be amazed how much better you sleep. And you’ll start to wake up feeling better than you ever imagined possible. Great sleep is an essential element in the campaign for better health and it’s a fundamental contributor to an enhanced sense of daily wellbeing. Take up the habit of perfect sleep and start to feel wonderful every single day. You deserve it!
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