“Sleep is the best meditation” Dalai Lama
We all know what it’s like to have a bad night’s sleep. The next day can be a muddle of feeling exhausted and irritable and the knock-on effect on our work, relationships and emotions can be enormous. Rest is one of the few things we need to feel our best. Good quality sleep can help maintain our mental health as well as support our bodies repair themselves.
There are so many factors that affect the quality of your sleep; from the tidiness of your room to the amount of caffeine you consume each day. But luckily, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting a better night’s sleep. One or two simple tweaks might be all you need. Here are a few to get you started.
Make your bed in the morning
Not only is it a productive way to start your day, but it also helps end your day on a good note. Is there a better feeling than sinking into fresh sheets? No one wants to get into a crumpled, unmade bed, so make it your goal when you get up every morning to make your bed and to change your linen regularly. You could even spritz your sheets with your favorite scent or one that feels relaxing like lavender or jasmine.
Take a warm bath
Having a regular bedtime routine that lets your body know it’s time to start winding down is helpful. A warm bath about an hour before bedtime can help you unwind and prepare for sleep. A study done by Cornell University in 1997 suggests that a rapid drop in your body's core temperature can help you fall asleep. So if you raise your core temp a little with a warm bath, the drop in temperature when you get into bed may help you nod off in no time.
Declutter your sleep environment
Your bedroom should be somewhere you feel relaxed and enjoy spending time. Too many things cluttering your surfaces might have an adverse effect on your ability to sleep well. For example, having a desk in your room covered in work is likely to make it difficult for you to disconnect at night. Try packing your work away into a closet or drawer and clearing off the surfaces in the evenings. Or better yet, have a good old declutter. Aim for a calm, tidy and serene sleep environment. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has.
There’s nothing worse than climbing into bed after a busy day, feeling exhausted and ready for a long sleep, only to toss and turn for hours because your mind is racing. Try a few moments of mindfulness before bed with an app like Headspace. It will walk you through a guided meditation, helping you wind down and quiet your mind, setting you up for a much more peaceful night's sleep.