How to get a better night's sleep

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How to get a better night’s sleep

We’re always told how important it is to make sure that we get enough rest, but sometimes it’s not just about how long you spend asleep. Getting a more restful night of sleep can be as simple as ensuring that you’re relaxed before you fall asleep, but this is easier said than done! Here are a few tips for improving the quality of your sleep, that might also help if you find you struggle to get to sleep quickly enough.

Taking a hot bath or shower

Showers are an odd phenomenon, as they have the unique quality of rejuvenating in the morning and helping you wind down in the evening. If I’m feeling generally tense, I find that a hot shower relaxes my muscles and soothes any frazzled nerves. And if you’re lucky enough to have a bathtub in your staircase or flat, that’s even better!

Shutting off social media

We’ve all fallen victim to the habit of aimlessly scrolling on our phones right before bed, despite the numerous articles that have warned us of how the light from our screens will keep us wide awake. Beyond that, social media is more stimulating than you might think, and imbibing all of that information late at night will keep it whirring on in your brain whilst you try to fall asleep. It’s good practice to set your phone aside for half an hour, or at least turn it onto ‘night shift’ or equivalent, so that the screen light doesn’t disturb you.

“What am I supposed to do instead?” is the common reaction to going screen-less for half an hour. A little bit of light reading usually works, as long as the subject matter isn’t anything too stimulating! The same goes for listening to music – there are some great playlists on Spotify and YouTube to satisfy your appetite for chilled songs.

ASMR videos

Sometimes we can do all of the above, and still lie awake at night willing ourselves to fall asleep. A few savvy YouTubers have come up with a solution – ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos. These videos replicate the calming or ‘tingly’ feeling that can accompany certain sounds or visual stimuli. They don’t work for everyone; some people find the sounds uncomfortable or the videos themselves awkward, but they are gaining popularity nevertheless. Earlier this year, IKEA posted their own ASMR video in a highly innovative attempt at marketing their bedsheets to students.

It’s worth a try if you find that you can’t wind down in the evenings, and there’s a whole host of videos available on YouTube. I recommend the Bob Ross videos, but there’s plenty to cater to individual interests, such as make-up tutorials, clothing hauls and satirical monologues. Basically, you can find an ASMR version of virtually any category of YouTube video!

Aromatherapy oils

Another recent wellbeing trend to hit the mainstream, you can find small bottles of aromatherapy oil in most pharmacies or health stores. They have a pleasant scent that should remind you of a relaxing massage in a spa, and are doubly soothing when rubbed onto your wrists or massaged into your temples at night. Incorporating them into your evening routine can help remind your body that it’s time to wind down for the night.

Relaxing sounds

Finally, no matter how good our intentions are, sometimes loud neighbours or the general noise that accompanies living on a busy street can interrupt our plans for sleep. A pair of earplugs is usually a good solution, but if you find that they feel uncomfortable, you could try playing some background music or sounds to cancel out the noise.

Again, YouTube is your friend here. You can find 10-hour long videos of ocean sounds, which will last throughout the night and are subtle enough to blend in with your surroundings. If they’re not potent enough, there are also videos filled with relaxing, meditation music specifically chosen with sleep in mind.

The biggest advantage to using some of these tips is that they can turn a boring night-time ritual into something that you look forward to. Try setting aside an extra half hour each night to prepare yourself for sleep, and I’m sure you’ll see a big difference in your energy levels.

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