Is there anything more stressful than struggling to fall asleep? When you’ve run out of farmyard animals to count, and the hour can be numbered with a single digit, it seems the longer you lie, the harder it becomes to surrender to unconsciousness. While the first consideration is often physiological, environmental factors could be at fault, and making a few adjustments to your surroundings could make all the difference between sweet dreams and calamitous insomnia.
Deep Sleeps and Diligent Days — Creating a Peaceful Resting Environment
Tire out your eyes
Your brain secretes melatonin, a sleep hormone triggered by natural darkness, so ensure the shades or curtains over any bedroom windows are thickly lined and artificial sources of light have been extinguished to benefit from its full effect. It might be tempting to curl up and indulge your latest TV addiction on your tablet or phone with a little bedtime binge-watching, but it’s not conducive to quiet repose, so make your room a retreat from the stresses of email, missed calls and that latest high score on Angry Birds. Your shuteye is, from now on, a strict no technology zone.
Decorate for dreaming
Bright colours and patterned wallpaper are too hectic to introduce into the bedroom; they only stimulate your mind and draw the eye. Powder pastels and neutral colours work best. It’s harder to sleep when things feel unfinished, so keep the room pristine and clutter free for utmost chill potential.
Make a list of demands
Often, we’re kept awake by the worries that occupy our thoughts, whether rational, or in the form of chance mental ramblings that will seem irrelevant come morning. Keep a pen and notepad somewhere close to the bed, and if an amplified worry comes to mind, write it down as a promise to yourself to deal with it in the morning.
Feed your senses
The soft scent of cotton linen, a gentle breeze through an open window, a cup of herbal tea; quality sleep is not about just closing your eyes and hoping for the best, it requires the cooperation of all your senses. Stock up the bedside table with an emergency sleep kit; this might include scented hand cream, a face mask to block out the light and, crucially, a cold glass of water in the event of mid-slumber dehydration.
Though very easy to neglect, sleep is critical to your health, and lack of it can cause hypertension, impact hormone levels, decrease your immunity and even make you gain weight! Make it a priority to get the most out of your eight hours a night, and you could see more visible benefits than from changing any other aspect of your routine.