We all know that sleep is one of the most important things that you need to survive. Sleep improves memory, increases life span, reduces blood pressure, enhances creativity, the list goes on.
If you do not fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, then your circadian rhythm is out of synch. For shift workers, this will always be out.
Sleep operates on three main factors – time, temperature, and light. The cave where you sleep needs to be dark and cold and you need to go to bed at the same time each night.
It is recommended that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you want to know how much sleep you need, on your days off note down the amount of sleep you get over 10 or so days and average the figure – that’s how much sleep you need.
I was once the worst sleeper ever. If I had 4 hours sleep a night I was ecstatic. So I read lots and lots and lots of books and tried lots of different things. Here’s what works for most people I know who had trouble sleeping;
· Exercise every day – a 30-minute walk is the recommended minimum; I try to get to the gym most days.
· Restrict coffee to two cups per day and never after 3 pm.
· Don’t use a smart phone or tablet within three hours of bedtime.
· Have a hot shower one hour before bed.
· Have dinner at least four hours before bedtime and don’t eat too much.
· Have a small piece of protein right on bedtime to help stop you waking at 3 am.
· Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day – this forms a sleep pattern.
· Get into bed and stay there – don’t get back up if you can’t sleep because you will wake up again (try getting out of bed if you can’t sleep to reset your brain).
· Think about one thing and one thing only. Concentrate on that one thing – a happy place, an inanimate object, something that stops other thoughts coming into your head.
· Relax – know that you will get to sleep eventually and that you won’t be as tired the following day as you think you might be.
Try to stick to the same pattern every night. Any changes to your pattern will influence your brain and you will have to restart the pattern.
If you are someone who really struggles with sleep, I have constructed a document that you may find helpful. Go to WARNInternational.com and I will send it to you.