With so many things going on in our hectic lives how do we wind down and sleep? Here are some ideas drawn from the experience of a light sleeper.
It is often suggested that for restful sleep we should follow advice along the following lines:
- Adopt regular sleeping hours and keep to a regular pattern
- Install black-out curtains and a sunrise alarm clock
- Prepare a well-ventilated, quiet room
- Find a comfortable bed and bedding, especially mattress and pillows
- Keep electronic distractions and ‘blue light’ out of the bedroom (tablets, phones, TVs, games, computers)
- Abstain from caffeine at least five hours before sleep (coffee and chocolate)
- Drink only a small amount of water before bedtime
- rigorous exercise during the day (to trigger fatigue and wellbeing)
- Write down (and let go of) any lingering ideas or task lists
- And, if all else fails, seek medical advice from a qualified doctor
To which I would add a couple of straightforward and inexpensive suggestions:
- Read a chapter (or a few) from a good book in paper form (not a tablet)
- Keep a regular reading time for children – with parents reading aloud to younger children
From experience, I have found that reading a good book before sleep can be something to look forward to. It can create a positive space for thoughts to drift away to before sleep (with the exception of horror of course :-). Once my mind is working through lateral strands of escapism I find that meandering into dreamland is much easier.
If all else fails, I listen to some quiet music from a familiar source on headphones. Tuning into a radio station (for example BBC Radio 6) or a relaxing playlist usually does the trick. Comfortable earphones are a must, even better if they can fall out when I eventually drift off.
Hope these tips help.
Author of cool books for bright, young minds.