If you wake in the morning and don't feel rested, it impacts your whole day. Any parents will know that their children are at their worst when they have not had a good night's sleep and as adults we are the same, even if we don't like to admit it.
Deep, restful sleep allows the body to regenerate and to process the day, so if you are not getting enough, these tips are for you.
1. Have a bedTIME and stick to it
Just like a baby, we operate best when we have structure to our day. Make bedtime the same time every night. There will be an optimal time for you to get the rest that your body needs, so if it's not working, try earlier or later times, being consistent for two weeks to allow your body to get into the rhythm.
2. Prepare for sleep
It is important to have a routine that prepares your body for rest. Binge watching Netflix and then expecting your mind to switch off to sleep is not ideal. It is recommended that all electronic stimulus is turned off for 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Take a shower, read a book, do something that allows your mind to slow down, allowing you to fall into an easy and natural sleep.
Also, bedrooms are for sleep and sex, so TVs belong in the living area.
3. Unload your thoughts
Your subconscious mind wants to help you resolve any problems, so if you go to bed with thoughts of work, or to do lists or worries about family members, your mind will run through scenarios to help you. So you lie in bed thinking, and thinking and thinking, probably resolving very little.
Before getting into bed at night, keep a notepad to the side and literally take any thoughts out of your head and put them down on paper. It doesn't need to make sense or be legible. Then once you have done this, put the notepad in a drawer, literally 'putting the thoughts away' until tomorrow. As an added bonus, the act of writing stimulates the logical side of your brain, which may help find a resolution.
4. Focus your mind
There's a reason that people count sheep to go to sleep. It focuses the mind on a single thing, preventing any random thoughts or worries from getting in. When you're lying in bed, here are some techniques to try.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation - starting at your feet, imagine relaxing the muscles in your toes, feet and ankles and then progress this upwards through your legs all the way to your face and finally your mind. The slower you do this the better. If you find it hard to 'think' relaxation, tense the muscle first.
Visualisation - everybody likes to remember happy times. Think of a place that you find peaceful and relaxing, perhaps a recent holiday. Try and immerse yourself in the memory, by recalling the colours and images, the sounds, smells and feelings that this place creates for you.
5. Be grateful
Studies show that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.
If you struggle with sleep, there is a tendency to focus on the negative, but the Law of Attraction says that if you think "I will never get to sleep" then you won't. Instead think, "I deserve a rest" or "I will get the rest that my body needs".
At the end of each day, write down three things to be thankful for. A hot coffee, or a green light on the way to work, or something funny one of your kids does or says. Identifying the good things will open your mind up to more joy and optimism and you will find more good things and rest better.