Sleeping is how we spend roughly a third of our lives, and yet many people report that their sleep is broken and unfulfilling. If you are one of them, you may find that the lack of quality sleep is placing a strain on all areas of your life, including your health and your personal relationships. A lack of quality sleep (or of sleep altogether) can cause stress, lack of focus, depression and moodiness, to name a few. Find out how to make the most of your sleep and how to combat any insomnia you may be suffering from.
First of all, your bedroom needs thorough investigation. Issues such as black mould, for example, can cause serious problems with your breathing and can cause headaches and other problems that will interfere not only with sleep but also with your health in other ways. Have a close look at damp levels and other potential problems. Do you air it out enough? Is there a draft? Is it tidy, or is it a mess, and do you have a dust problem that could make it hard to breathe? All of these potential issues are easy enough to address (well, the mould/damp problem isn’t, but you may be able to switch rooms or sleep in the guest bedroom until you can afford to resolve it), and you can start work on making your bedroom more habitable. This alone can go a huge way not just towards improving your sleep in itself, but also towards improving your attitude towards sleep as a pleasant experience you can look forward to.
Remove the television from your bedroom if you are having trouble sleeping. It seems counter-intuitive – what will you do when you can’t sleep? But in truth, watching the television does not help you get sleepier. It is much more beneficial to read a book, listen to music (or listen to an audiobook!) or otherwise occupy your mind before you go to sleep. So keep a pile of books and magazines by the bed instead and resort to those if you’re having trouble sleeping.
Having some water by the bed is a great plan, too. Getting out of bed to get a drink of water when you wake up thirsty is far more likely to lead to extensive wakefulness than reaching over and grabbing a cup of the stuff. For a similar reason, try to void your bladder before you go to sleep; even if you’ve been in bed for a while, just go to the toilet and have a try to give yourself the longest period of uninterrupted sleep possible.
Insomnia – particularly, issues falling asleep or going back to sleep once woken – is often due to your mind’s inability to let go of the day-to-day stresses you are facing in your life. One excellent way to cope with this is by building a go-to fantasy to immerse yourself in when you have trouble sleeping. For me personally, that fantasy is my dream house. If money were no object, what sort of house would I live in? I ask myself, and let my imagination take me away. Every time I do it, the house is different, but as my mind has begun to associate the concept with sleep my time spent seriously contemplating the house has dropped off sharply; I rarely make it past the hallway before falling asleep. Reverting to the same thought pattern every time you need to is a great idea and will allow you to train your brain into going to sleep.
Ultimately, sleep is quite a serious part of the human experience. Take it seriously. Put in the time and effort required. You’ll be amazed at the benefits!