How to have a better night's sleep

by - 6:00 PM

Hello hello there! 

One topic you might hear people frequently complain about is poor sleep: inability to fall asleep, not feeling tired when the time to sleep arrives, not having a proper rest, still waking up feeling tired... 

For the longest time, I also suffered from insomnias myself. Nonetheless, after having both done a lot of research and being a psychology student, I have learned a lot about sleep, the processes that occur in the brain and how external factors can influence it. 

Therefore, in today's post, I will be sharing some advice on how to have a better night's sleep!

We are all aware that this substance is a stimulant. What you might have not known is that it can take up to 12 hours to be eliminated from your system. That means if you drink coffee at11am, caffein could still be present on your body at 11pm! Essentially, caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, which are responsible for informing the body that it needs to rest. 

Warm bath/ shower
A warm shower will allow your body to slightly decrease its temperature when faced with the room temperature afterwards, slowing down the metabolic rate and thus helping initiate a feeling of drowsiness and relaxation.

No technologies
I am sure you've heard before that you should not use any technologies before going to sleep. The reason behind this is the blue light it emits. When the receptors in our eyes' retinas are exposed to it, the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for promoting alertness and regulating our circadian rhythms (your biological clock that coordinates many physiological processes), is suppressed. Thus, if at night you continue being presented with blue lights, melatonin won't be produced, making it harder to fall asleep. In addition, even if you are able to do so without any problems, your sleep won't be as deep and restoring as it could have been. So, what can you do to limit blue light exposure? My answer is: restricting the use of technologies, reducing screen brightness, using yellow lightbulbs and using apps such as f.lux two hours before going to bed.

Research has shown reading to be more effective in reducing stress levels than listening to music or even drinking tea. In fact, this opportunity to mentally escape any daily worry into another world only requires 6 minutes to calm you down!

Declutter your mind
One of the best things to free your mind is to write down about your day. What did you do? How are you feeling? What are you grateful for? What went right or wrong? Your favourite part? Anything you learned? 
You should also write down any to-dos and plans for the following day. This way, when you go to bed you're not spending your time thinking and planning, which will impede you from falling asleep.

When we finally stop after the day's unsettledness, that's when the mind has the most tendency to start racing through trillions of thoughts simultaneously. The practice of meditation can act as a natural sleeping aid by allowing you to both rest the mind and the body. The point of meditation, contrarily to common belief, is not to control your thoughts, but to observe and let them go, without attaching any emotions to them. If you are a beginner, I would recommend trying some guided meditations: the app Stop, Breathe & Think is my all-time favourite.

Stretch/ bedtime yoga
You can definitely incorporate some yoga or stretches into your bedtime routine. However, you should not opt for energising poses but for light and restorative ones such as the baby pose, cat-cow pose and child's pose.

Essential oils

Some scents such as lavender and chamomile have calming and soothing properties that will help you fall asleep. You can either put some drops in a diffuser or create your own mix to spray directly on your pillow or onto the air. Another option is to use scented products such as cremes on your body or apply the drops in places such as your wrists and forehead.

Create a routine
Regardless of the steps you take, before bed should be a time of self-care that ultimately allows you to unwind. I always defend that creating a routine will allow you to feel more organised and in control. Not only this, but as you continue doing these steps every day, your brain will associate them with sleep, increasing their effect.

I hope you found these tips helpful and you've learned something new. Tell me in the comments below what is the one thing you always have to do before going to sleep that helps you have a good night! 

I will see you next week x

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