In this article, Palma Michel, Co-Founder of Profuse29 (a company that introduces mindfulness and mindful leadership to companies like London School of Economics and The Soho House Group) shares her 5 top tips to help you get a better night's sleep. Over to Palma...
Sleep is big business these days and so many of us are struggling with finding deep rest at night. I have never met anyone who doesn't love sleep. When we sleep we have a holiday from the endless thought spirals in our minds. As a result, our cells and bodies can rejuvenate which is why we feel so refreshed after a good night's sleep.
These days many people feel tired but wired from their days and have difficulty falling asleep at night. The moment their head hits the pillow, their thoughts go into overdrive. The other thing that is fairly common is to wake up in the early hours of the morning and struggle to go back to sleep. The mind is making incessant to-do-lists or is already holding the morning meeting.
When I work with clients to help them improve their sleep, we are usually looking at what happens during their days rather than the sleep itself. The difficulty with sleep is usually just a symptom of being stressed during our day. So, the more we can do to optimize our response to stress during our day, the easier it will be to find deep rest at night.
Here are 5 tips to help you wind down and fall asleep after a busy day...
Get on the melatonin train
The best moment to go to bed is when you feel drowsy and sleepy in the evening. This is a sign that your body is producing melatonin. Melatonin is the body's natural sleep drug. Very often, we ignore these signs and continue watching TV or play with our computers as we feel the evening is the only time we have to ourselves. Melatonin is like a train, if you miss the last one, it takes a long time for the next one to arrive.
Avoid looking at your screens (tablets, mobile phones, computer) 1-2 hours before you go to sleep. The blue light that is emitted from your screens signals to your brain that it is still the middle of the day. As a result, it stops producing melatonin which is needed for resting.
Empty your mind
If your mind starts making incessant to-do-lists, when you are switching off your light, sit-up in bed and take a pen and paper and write down everything that is on your mind that you need to do.
Listen to a sleep meditation
Lie down in bed and listen to the enclosed sleep meditation, which guides you through a progressive muscle relaxation exercise.
Don't fight it
When we lie awake at night, it's fairly common to get worked up about how exhausted we will feel the next day. Ironically, this is actually what makes us feel exhausted. If we would just lie in bed awake our body would still get a relatively good rest. We can't force our body and mind to sleep, but if we stop fighting it and make peace with just resting instead, we have a better chance of falling asleep.