You’re likely familiar with that hazy, groggy feeling you get when you didn’t get enough sleep. However, once this becomes a regular occurrence, it starts to affect you in major ways. Between forgetting things at home and work, gaining weight, and declining energy levels, lack of sleep can cause significant disturbances to your body and mind.
But not all hope is lost. You have the power to put a stop to restless nights, even if they seem inevitable at this point. The secret lies in self-care, a combination of everyday practices that relieve the constant pressure you feel so you can get the sleep you need. Making self-care a priority can give you more energy—which means greater positivity and higher self-esteem—putting you on top again physically, mentally, socially, and professionally.
Let’s start with the basics; here’s how to drift off into dreamland for the sake of your brain.
What you feed your body you also feed your mind. That said, be cautious about the types of foods you consume, particularly in the evening. You can enrich your diet for a better night’s rest with complex carbs and vitamin B-rich foods such as fish and poultry, according to Everyday Health. You should also be evenly spacing your meals throughout the day to avoid overeating too close to bedtime.
Get the blood flowing by doing something fun, whether that’s jogging, aerobics, or dancing. Exercise relieves stress, which could be what’s causing your insomnia to begin with. But there’s more: Tiring yourself out during the day ensures that you’re drowsy and ready for bed in the evening.
You’re probably wondering what organization has to do with drifting off to dreamland. Well, a home environment full of clutter generates stress, making it hard to unwind after a hard day’s work, no matter how exhausted you feel. There’s a quick and obvious fix: Purge belongings you don’t need and put the rest where they belong.
That starts by unplugging from your work life by setting aside the smartphone and tablet. Constant alerts from clients and colleagues may give you a head start on tomorrow, but that happens at the expense of more stress today—and during a time when you should be getting mentally prepared for sleep.
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Whether it’s playing the guitar, knitting, or colouring, focusing your brain on the movement of your hands puts your mind in a state of flow that encourages calm along with a lower heart rate and slower breathing. It’s an excellent addition to your evening repertoire, so pick a hobby that allows you to mellow out a little more.
Technically you shouldn’t be using your phone in the bedroom, but it’s okay to make an exception if it’s for a meditation app. Apps like Mindworks offer special guided techniques specifically designed to help you fall asleep. During a typical session, an instructor with a silky smooth voice directs you to relax different parts of your body and imagine yourself in various calm, natural settings to ease you into your relaxation space, followed by a deep slumber.
Keep a book on your bedside table just in case you don’t fall asleep immediately upon hitting the sheets. If you’re troubled by any residual stress after your relaxation routine, reading will help by enveloping you in an enchanting narrative, and it won’t be long before the letters on the page become blurry and you finally drift off.
Try this: Inhale for four seconds, hold it for seven, and exhale for eight. It’s a technique based on an ancient form of yoga called pranayama, and it could be just what you need to let go of the waking world as the Sandman takes you away to dreamland. Some say it works in only a few minutes.
The best thing is that all of these alterations to your lifestyle go beyond just sleep; they make you feel better overall. That should motivate you to get started today.