Trouble sleeping? Tossing and turning? Waking up feeling dreadful? Maybe it’s time to look at your sleep hygiene.
Your sleep issues and my sleep issues will be hard to define and compare. Our restless nights could be caused by whoever we share our bed or room with, or they could be caused by our own habits or ‘sleep hygiene’.
Restless sleep is not insomnia, which is a sleep condition that will be diagnosed by your doctor or health professional – it’s quite different, but at the same time can be a result or maybe even the cause of the restless sleep.
We all know that certain stimulants will not lend themselves to a good nights sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, food and our beloved devices. Our mental health also has a part to play. If we are feeling down, worried or anxious about something, we will of course struggle to relax and drift off to the land of nod.
Then of course, our bedroom itself, our bed, pillows, noise and room temperature join the party. Many of us will wear ear plugs because a partner snores or to drown out traffic or noisy neighbours. Some of us will wear eye masks to block out light or mouth guards to stop us grinding out teeth. It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with sleep.
We know how to look after our personal hygiene and our dental hygiene, but what can we do to improve our sleep hygiene? We’ve done some research to help you find the help you need to improve your sleep. Read on to discover links to websites, videos, a downloadable PDF and even a sleep diary, all bursting with great tips and advice.
The NHS have a great page full of sleep tips, recommending that we establish a good routine and stick with it. From a regular bedtime, wind-down techniques and self-help techniques, their website really is worth checking out.
The Sleepstation website is another great place for help and ideas. They offer a sleep improvement programme and claim they help you sleep better after just four sessions by helping you discover the underlying problems that are causing your sleep issues. They also have a page bursting with articles looking at all kinds of things, from how weighted blankets could improve your sleep to how things like menopause, smoking and negative thinking have an impact on sleep quality.
Headspace believe that the key to achieving better sleep may just be a matter of adjusting our sleep habits. They have published a great list of sleep hygiene tips. They also recommend trying mediation and share a guided session so you can have a go – you can view their short 10 minute Reset session here.
Of course, we can’t deny that the current global pandemic is not damaging our sleep at the moment. We have all had a restless night or two in the past year. Anxiety Canada have put a great document together that you can download. The PDF contains strategies for improving sleep as well as a link to a downloadable sleep diary, which is perfect for tracking the sleep hygiene methods you have tried so you can rate your sleep and see what works best for you.
We hope these links have been useful for you, but please remember, speak to your doctor if you are struggling and prevent your restless sleep from growing into a bigger issue.
Wishing you success and peaceful dreams soon.