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time for bed – sleep better

My mum used to stay I was a wiggler. I’d mess the bed up every night. I’d roll about, lie one way, then another and another. Limbs would hang off the bed. Duvets and blankets ended up on the floor. I’d be awake, asleep, awake, asleep or wakey sleepy as it’s now known.

So, I’m a few years older and not much has changed. Instead of thinking about exams and gymnastics, now I wake up thinking about the next day’s plans, a coachee’s blockers, a new training session design or how to promote a b-more to new solopreneurs.

Whilst I know sleep is important, I don’t always prioritise it. I start a new task or chore a bit too late or simply, faff about.

I’m starting again. I want to sleep better. I’m going to try to rewrite my wonky programming and find a way to enjoy being asleep. I’ve researched, read, asked and more – what strikes me is how much information there is. I’m also surprised by how simple some of it is.

1. Get enough for you

How much sleep do you need? I can function on 5 hours, but way better with 7.5. However, I average about 6.5 most nights. The number you need will be personal to you. Keep a diary of bed times, alarm times and note how many times you woke up and how you felt upon waking.

2. Schedule it

Book in your bed time and alarm time. And then stick to it. (Yes I know. Tricky, right?) It is suggested that by making the times regular or if that’s not possible, allowing for your right number of hours between them, we’d wake refreshed and have better quality sleep.

3. Create a routine

Warm bath. Lavender Oil. Hot chocolate or warm milk. A few slow stretches. Breathing or mediation exercises. Removing your make-up and massaging a little facial oil into your skin. Anything that relaxes your body and mind.

4. Avoid blue lights

About 60-90 minutes before your sleep time, turn off your tech. Smart phones. Tablets. TVs. Computer or laptop screens. (Yes I know. Another one I’m gonna struggle on!)

 5. Do some exercise

But not to hard or too late before bed time. Think low impact class, walk round the block – not fast paced run or swim or weights session. You want to exhaust yourself a little and get a good dose of endorphins without having the “Woooo, I’m wide awake now” post exercise high!

6. Fuel your sleep

Eat or drink something with natural sugars just before bed (and brushing your teeth!) – why? Sometimes, our brains feel like they’re running out of available fuel so wakes us up. (My trick is honey or agave nectar in my milk)

7. Clear your mind

Pick the method that works for you – talk to a friend, write it down, draw a mind-map, mediate, a spot of NLP practice – and keep a pen and paper next to your bed so if you are woken up, you can clear again.

8. And relax….

This is my favourite bit: full body relaxation exercises. Slow your breathing rate, by drawing in and counting a slow 1, 2, 3 and release. (Increase the number if you’ve got a big lung capacity!) Starting at your toes, screw them up tight. Move up to your calves, knees, thighs, pelvic floor, tummy, bum, back, shoulders, arms, fingers and neck. Finally screw up your face. (Yep, you’ll look a bit weird. Lights off.) Then release your toes and stretch them, ankles, calves, knees and so on up your body again until you relax your face….if you get that far 🙂

Here’s my promise – for September, I am going to:

  • do a short, light burst of exercise before 1900
  • switch off my devices at 2130
  • drink milk and honey each night
  • ditch the faffing about for a bedtime routine of pampering
  • get to bed by 2245 and get up at 0600 on weekdays
  • get to bed on the weekend by 2345 and up by 0800

What’s your sleep inducing, sweet dream making tips? I’d love to know a few more pragmatic or unusual ones to add to this list. Tell me in the comments.

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