If you are yawning, craving a rest right now, then you probably aren't getting enough sleep. Try this advice to make sure you get a good sleep tonight.
Sometimes you can just tell if you haven't had enough sleep, you feel it in your bones.
And depending on the busyness of your life, sometimes you may ignore the signs, and struggle through, using coffee and sweets to keep you going.
While this may seem like a delicious option, it's not in the best interests of your health, and it's far from sustainable.
Instead, here are some tips to make sure the rest of the week isn't so sleep-deprived.
Screens are probably the biggest sleep disturber of our generation. We are hooked on them, from waking to sleeping – sometimes dozing off while holding them above our heads, only to be awoken by dropping them on our faces. I know you've been there.
The only way to steal back some of your time is a strict screen schedule. Absolutely no screens allowed in bed. Get an alarm clock if you rely on your phone to wake you up. Leave your phone in another room, or if you simply have to have it in your room, turn the data off. No laptops, tablets, phones, TVs. Nothing.
Better yet, instigate a no screens rule one hour before bed. So, you usually head off to bed at 10pm? From 9pm switch everything off, give your brain a break. Read a book, or have some quality time with your loved ones.
Make a sleep schedule
This is pretty basic – make sure you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning so your body gets into the right rhythm. It will take awhile to get the right bedtime, ideally you will wake up naturally at the same time every morning, without an alarm, feeling well rested.
Move your body
Many studies have shown those who exercise regularly sleep better. If you don't move so much during the day, such as working a desk job, then its extra important to get some exercise in. If you exercise in the evening, do it at least a few hours before you hit the hay so you can tire yourself out then sleep deeply.
If you want to exercise before going to bed, limit it to some gentle stretching or yoga. There are many exercise classes on YouTube that will help you with this.
Watch what (and when) you eat
What you eat and when can also really affect your slumber.
Make sure you don't eat at least three hours before bedtime, so you give yourself the time to digest your meal. If there are certain foods that cause you to have an upset stomach, like greasy or spicy food, then avoid having those for dinner, if they are going to cause you heartburn, or cramps then that's not going to help you get some shut-eye.
However, don't go to bed hungry, that's going to be just as annoying and distracting. If those three hours between dinner and bed are too much to bear, have a light snack an hour before bed, something like a peanut-better sandwich, or some fruit.
No afternoon coffee
As much as you may love that 3pm caffeine hit, chances are it's not doing you any favours when its time to get some shut eye. It's not only coffee, coke, energy drinks and black tea also have caffeine in them.
Caffeine has a habit of lingering in the system, sometimes for up to 12 hours, so instead of an afternoon coffee/soda/energy drink/black tea try a green tea, and keep the coffee for the morning.
Go to sleep with a clear mind
Maybe the reason you are having trouble sleeping is because your troubles are coming to bed with you (interpret that as you wish!)
You need to go to bed feeling clear and calm, and breathing can help you do this.
So first things, make your room comfortable, you should have already banished those screens, try light a few candles. You could play some chill music.
Either sit on your floor or bed, be comfortable but try to sit straight, so you can expand your lungs are much as possible.
This is all about clearing and calming your mind. Close your eyes, and start taking deep breaths, feeling your lungs expand to the sides, breath all the way in, feeling in down in your stomach, and exhale, fully emptying your lungs. Five seconds to inhale, five to exhale. As you take each breath, image the stresses and the worries of the day just melting away, from your brain to the floor.
Do this for ten minutes, then slide into bed.