If you are someone like me who is more of a nocturnal creature who feels more alive the later it is, you probably have trouble sleeping. Having a healthy sleep schedule is vital for a more productive and balanced day. It is recommended to get 8 hours of sleep a night if you can. There are many side effects from not sleeping enough. Let’s explore the effects lack of sleep can have on the body.
The effects of sleep deprivation
According to www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss a lack of sleep can seriously affect your brain health. It impairs attention, alertness, concentration, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Lack of sleep can also affect how you look, it dries out the skin and affects the production of collage. Ultimately causing the skin to age. It can also result in dark circles and puffiness. Sleep recharges and rejuvenates your body and skin, so getting your beauty sleep is quite literally true!!
Another side effect includes eating unhealthily. When overtired, the body craves sugary foods to help artificially energise yourself. This however, just gives the body a quick burst of energy, later leaving you with a sluggish feeling. This can also lead to weight gain.
Going to sleep for some can be a stress inducing time, especially if you’re someone who has a tendency to overthink. The night time is prime time for overthinking to occur. If you’re one who struggles to sleep, sit back and enjoy reading a self-proclaimed insomniac’s guide to sleeping better.
Exercising throughout the day
This one may seem cliché, but exercising throughout the day really does aid in getting a peaceful night’s sleep. According to www.thesleepdoctor.com there is scientific evidence indicating that exercise can be an effective natural therapy for insomnia. Exercise can also contribute to deeper sleep, which is the most restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. Exercise has also been proven to help with anxious thoughts, which can help achieve less anxiety overall, making it easier to fall asleep. For me, running is a great exercise to clear your thoughts, and will really tire you out.
If you’re interested in picking up running download the couch to 5K App : https://apps.apple.com/ie/app/couch-to-5k-runner/id448357306
Something I have found extremely beneficial was doing yoga either throughout the day or before bed. Yoga is perfect for calming your body and mind. Yoga practices allow you to reconnect and check in with your breathing and body, be it stretching out stiff muscles or doing a more rigorous yoga flow. A great channel for yoga beginners, which has a calming and easy flow, is Yoga with Adrienne. It is accessible and relaxing.
Check out Adrienne’s channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7SN-d4qXx0
Check out our article on yoga here, https://babylonradio.com/6-reasons-why-i-do-yoga/
Up next is mediation. This is a practice that can often be difficult for those with busy minds. However, if practiced, it can be extremely calming and nurturing. Channeling out your thoughts and simply focusing on breathing before bed can allow the body to become more relaxed, making it easier to doze off. A great free option is the app Oak, which can be downloaded on your phone. This offers guided and non guided meditation in a variety of forms. It also offers breathing exercises and sleep sounds to aid in sleepiness. My personal favourite feature is the relaxing sleep sounds you can play (I regularly play the white nose or roof rain sounds).
You can visit the App page here, www.oakmeditation.com , I find calming my thoughts before bed really helps me to drift off easier.
Ambiance before bed
Setting up my bedroom in a way that is cozy and warm, always helps to trick me into being sleepier. The ways I do this are; by either lighting a few candles (be sure to blow them out before falling asleep!), setting up fairy lights or having on a warm tone light such as a salt lamp. This always tends to exude a snug atmosphere. Sleeping in a tidy room can also help clear your mind and aid in sleeping. Decluttering your space can declutter your mind. Having an essential oil diffuser can also work great for relaxation. Choose oils such as lavender and eucalyptus, which can be great relaxation agents. My personal favourite is lavender oil.
You can browse diffusers and essential oils here: www.hollandandbarrett.ie/shop/natural-beauty/aromatherapy-home/
Avoid the phone
Another key thing to do before bed is avoiding your phone or laptop. This one may seem difficult as many people like to unwind via scrolling through Instagram and TikTok. However, if a good night’s rest is what you’re after, you should avoid it at least 30 minutes before trying to fall asleep. There have been numerous studies conducted to prove how the blue lighting on our phones affects us. According to www.healthline.com, blue light projected from your everyday technology in the evening tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Which inhibits the production of melatonin and reduces both the quantity and quality of your sleep. If you can put the phone down!
The best sleep podcasts and playlists to help you doze off
A great way to combat a busy mind is listening to a sleep podcast whilst going to sleep. I find that by listening to one of these podcasts, it allows you to focus on the story being told and tune out of your thoughts. Usually they are told by a calming monotone voice, it works best with earphones. The stories you can listen to range from Greek Mythology such as Prometheus and Pandora’s box to J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan.
Send me to sleep podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/4zTYfjUJh5UTFGNJN208DT
Both these podcasts offer classic tales and stories in a relaxing tone to allow you to fall asleep.
A personal favourite playlist of mine is, https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4rUqcSAouOk1N0SkGgBr2B
If you are a fan of anime , studio Ghibli or classical style music this playlist is perfect for you. The peaceful music featured will set a relaxing mood.
I hope these few tips and tricks will help you to sleep better or at least become more relaxed when trying to fall asleep from one insomniac to another.