Photo credit: owlpacino via flickr
There’s still so much we have to learn about sleep, but we already know it’s vital to our well-being and does amazing things like reset our brain and protect us from physical and mental health issues.
If you think about it, the signs are all there:
- we spend about a third of our lives doing it
- it is universal across all species, tightly regulated internally, and cannot be lost without serious harm, and
- it’s up there with oxygen in terms of the fundamentals we need to live (yep, it’s more important than food)
Any one of those would be convincing on its own, but put them all together and it’s pretty clear that sleep is where it’s at.
And yet sleep seems to be something we fit in around everything else in our lives. How can we change that? Here are three habits of a good sleeper to help us love sleep:
Give sleep the love and attention it deserves
This is like the difference between popping the kettle on for instant noodles and taking a little bit of time to savour something delicious. You turn the laptop off, turn the light out and flop your head down on the pillow. That’s the sleep equivalent of instant noodles.
Build in some wind-down time before you go to bed. Do something relaxing that gradually gets you into the right frame of mind so that by the time your head comes to rest on the pillow, you’re ready to drift off.
And try the same thing - but in reverse – in the morning. This isn’t about hitting the snooze button - that can just leave us feeling groggy. If you need an alarm, try one that wakes you up nice and slowly.
Make sleep something to be enjoyed and savoured.
Given what happens while we’re asleep, it’s easily the most important time of the day. But we see it more as an afterthought to the main event. At the risk of sounding cheesy, sleep is the best me-time we could give ourselves. Make your bedroom a place that you actually look forward to going. Sometimes, we delay going to sleep because it’s the time of the day we have for ourselves – work is done, the kids are in bed… Yes, you could slump in front of the TV or surf the net, but what’s that actually doing for you? If you’re tired, then maybe it’s time to go to bed. Some quality sleep will leave you feeling rested, refreshed and raring to go the next day!
Give sleep – and yourself – a break
Everyone can have a poor night’s sleep once in a while. Whether it’s down to a something specific or for no obvious reason. It’s just one night though. Sometimes that one night is all that’s needed to trigger sleep problems because it sets off a vicious cycle where the worry about not sleeping stops you from sleeping! So try and accept it and let that one night go. Don’t forget to make your bedroom sleep-friendly and a place that you actually want to be.And give the next night all the love it needs!
If you’re reading this thinking “I *do* love sleep… but it just doesn’t love me”, then have a look at some of our tips to help you sleep here