You know about those nights when you get to bed exhausted and longing for sleep. But when you shut your eyes, your brain refuses to do the same. Terrible, isn't it? A sleepless night full of tossing and turning can be worse than a nightmare.
I recently went through it all and ended up what can only be described as sleepwalking during the day, fatigued and groggy. I lost my appetite and even painkillers were no good for my headache. And the worst part was that it led to a very lazy me--I vegetated on the couch, waiting for the day to end.
Sleep deprivation takes a toll not only on health but also mood, job performance, decision-making and lots of other things. It is, therefore, worthwhile to improve the quality of your Zs. I eventually got around to following a number of tips and tricks. Here are some that worked for me:
- Take a bath before bedtime: We should learn from babies. They often sleep instantly after they are given a bath. Bathing helps the body relax; as you bathe, visualise the tiredness of the day washing away.
- Don't lie down until you're very sleepy: Listen to music or read a book or knit a sweater - whatever floats your boat (avoid your tablet and mobile though: more on that in point 4). Continue with your hobby until you are yawning and rubbing your eyes and all you want to do is lie down and sleep.
- Comfortable clothes: Wear loose and light clothes. You're falling asleep and nobody is watching you, so get rid of what you think is trendy.
- Zero electronics: Turn off all electronic devices, including the TV, laptop, iPad, mobiles and even the Wi-Fi. Your bedroom is a place for you to sleep and relax in--not to work and surf the internet in. You're likely to stay up longer if you're using an electronic device while trying to sleep.
- Aromatherapy: Choose the scents that you think will help you relax more. Light scented candles for a while and make sure there is lots of potpourri in the room. Nothing better than the sense of relaxation in the air.
- Dark room: Some people cannot sleep if light is coming through from somewhere. Get a think pair of curtains or maybe just a good sleep mask.
- Don't try too hard: Been in bed for an hour and still cannot sleep? Do something else. Don't stress yourself to sleep. It will make it even harder to drift off. Just get up, go have water, walk around the house or read a book. Stop thinking about sleeping for a while and sleep will come to you itself.
- Avoid caffeine: Some people cannot sleep if they take caffeine. Even tea keeps them up all night.
- Temperature control: Keep the temperature of your room according to what your body requires at that time. If you're feeling hot and trying to sleep, see if you can turn on the fan or air conditioner to let your body cool down.
- Right mattress and pillow: Don't compromise on the quality of your mattress and pillow. Some bodies won't be comfortable with sinking into the mattress whereas some people won't be able to fall asleep on a thin pillow. Go for what suits you best.