According to a recent survey, stress from work steals one hour and 40 minutes of sleep from employees every year. If you’re a teacher, nurse or a banker and are always struggling to get some sleep, you are amongst the most sleep deprived workers in the UK.
Worried, overworked, stressed, baby who won’t stop crying or just too tired to sleep…there are so many reasons why you might not be able to get some shut eye at bedtime.
Here are some tips to ensure that you get some much-needed snooze when the clock’s against you.
1. Write down the things on your mind
If you find it hard to switch off, write down what you’re thinking about. If it’s details for a meeting or presentation the next day, or errands that you need to remember, write them down. Once you’ve made a note of the things that are one your mind, it will be a lot easier for you to switch off because you’ll no longer need to worry about forgetting them.
2. Make a conscious effort to switch off
Yes, you might be worried about an issue at work, but if you go to work tired and grizzly in the morning, it won’t help the situation. So, make a conscious effort to set aside some time before bedtime where you just relax. This will help you unwind before bed.
If getting some shut eye is really a struggle, then you have to train yourself to be able to switch off at night. Get yourself into a regular sleep routine will help to train your body to know when it’s time to switch off.
3. Switch off technology
Checking emails or social media when you’re trying to switch off really won’t help. When you’re trying to relax and drift off to sleep, the last thing your brain needs is more activity. Turn off the sound and vibration on your phone and put your phone away!
4. Stop smoking
Nicotine is a stimulant, so having a crafty smoke in the evening will stop you falling asleep. You may also get craving during the night, which will invariably disturb your sleep.
5. Time your caffeine
If you’re a coffee lover, avoid drinking coffee eight hours before bedtime. For most people, that means ditching coffee after 2pm. Don’t replace it with tea or cola, or any other caffeine-containing drinks because t will have the same results.
6. Use something smelly
Essentials oils like lavender, chamomile and lang lang are known to kickstart the alpha wave activity in the brain, helping us to relax and sleep more soundly. Add a few drops of your essential oil of choice to water in a scary bottle and spray it around your room and pillow.
7. Keep a sleep diary
If it’s really difficult to get to sleep, and you feel all your efforts have been fruitless, keep a sleep diary for two weeks, detailing:
- the time you attempt to go to bed
- how long it takes you to fall asleep
- how many times you wake during the night
- how you feel in the morning
You can take this information to your GP to give them a clearer picture of what’s happening (or not happening), so they can make the necessary referrals.