If you could have a pill that would make you smarter, happier, more focused, less stressed, your skin glow, help to manage your cravings, to learn, boost your immune system and it would be totally legal without any side effects – how much would you pay for it?
The good thing is, there is something similar, not in a pill format though – Sleep!
Maybe you are not sleeping well. Or you are not sleeping enough. Or you are not quite sure. Then, in that case, there is an easy way to test: You can simply sleep one hour more per night for a week, and check if you notice any difference. Or, you can try these tips and see if your sleep quality improves. The cost will be max some tens of pounds and an episode of Netflix. Not too much for being smarther, happier, more focused etc, right?
Advice for better sleep starts often with close to impossible requests for us living in the modern word. ‘Start to wind down an hour or two before your planned sleep time, don’t look at the screens…’ etc. For me, personally, that would basically mean sacrificing social life, on- and offline. Still, there were times I wished I could sleep better.
Still, there were times I wished I could sleep better. 98% of time I have been falling sleep within two minutes after putting head to pillow – but oh those 2%! Additionally, I have suffered about extended periods of time when I have been regularly waking up between 2-4am, just to find out that I am not going to fall asleep again any time soon.
That’s why I kept discovering alternative, yet efficient ways to help to improve the quality of sleep. Everyone has heard about chamomille tea, importance of just the right bed and letting resh air into your bedroom right before sleeping… But what else is out there?
- It all starts or actually ends with nutrition. No one likes to sleap with an empty stomach. If you had an early dinner, have a late snack. Banana and eggs work well (yes, together), as well as porridge (yes, carbs). Alternatively you can have a glass of cherry juice about one hour before bed time. Magnesium helps to fall asleep and stocking up on magnesium can be sleep-changing especially for anyone suffering ‘restless feet’. If you had your dinner late enough, creating another type of evening ritual is still helpfull.
- Room set up is important. Luxorious bed is great, but that’s not all (and for many not a realistic investment), so here is a list about what anyone can do:
- Get a lamp on your bedside. You should be able to switch off the lamp from your bed in the evening.
- Pillow should be the right hight. If you are not sure which hight is right for you, get first several cheaper alternatives (they will wear off). There is no point to buy the best quality pillow if it is not supporting your neck. A meaningful alternative later on though.
- People rarely talk about what a difference a duvet can make, but it is on the same level with the right pillow. Think if you feel mostly too cold or hot, and if you could have a different alternative for winter and summer (if you live in a country like England where the temperature of the houses is not exactly stabile all year round)
- Bedlinen are not just a treat but can make or break the deal. Think: Absolutely natural materials only. Egyptian cotton is nice for bedsheet and duvet cover, for pillowcase, look for silk. There are affordable alternatives available. If you do not feel like splurging, bedlinen are the perfect thing to ask for christmas present from your parents.
- Take a warm shower. Use shower gel with a relaxing scent. Think about lavender, not orange or lemon.
- Lounge gear or not – that’s the problem. If yes, opt for extremely comfortable materials. Uniqlo’s yoga pants and their Airism tops are as close no-clothes as possible. Espeially during winter shoulders might get cold even below the best duvet, so Heattech is a good alternative. Then we finally get to the point where you get to sleep!
- Take a water bottle next to your bed. If you hydrated enough during the day and won’t wake up middle of the night thirsty – great. Then you will need this in the morning, when you certainly are dehydrated. It will also help you to wake up.
- Reflexology is one of the greatest ways to help you sleep. As most of us likely don’t have an in-house reflexology, look for a ball. Tennis ball, golf ball, lacrosse ball… Or go to Amazon and get the real deal. Rolling a ball below your feets for 2-10 minutes before sleeping makes a huge difference. If you have no clue what all this means, check out this Youtube video
- Spike mat and pillow are the secret weapon of me and my friends. It gets you aboslutely hooked (hopefully not literally though). Idea of the mat might sound harsh, so start easily – put a bedsheet between you and the mat, or keep your shirt on. After that, you can try the mat on bed against your bare back. If you feel extra acupressure, put it on the floor. I can not ravish enough about the spike mat – it has made a huge difference to my sleep quality. I aim to lie on the mat for about 10 minutes, but actually often wake up 1 hour after, just to take the mat off and switch off the light.
- Aromatherapy, meaning nice scent. I talk about ‘This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Scent’ is excellent. The orange oil is great for de-stressing, use on your wrists.
- Earplugs. They were a true game-changer to me. I thought the flat is ‘relatively’ quiet, but… When I started using earplugs, my sleep quality increased enormously. Give them a go.
- Eye mask. My favorite is Slip, pure silk, of course. No wrinkles, no dry eyes, total darkness.
- In extreme cases, when you just can not wind down, try listening a guided relaxation. Youtube is close to you anyway.
Try some – the chances are, you turn out to be a bit healthier, happier, fresher, smarter and more awake than you though.