Help to quieten the mind and sleep

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.

D.M. Jarrett
Author of cool books for bright, young minds.

Claws Cover