Why is it that when we’re at our most tired, when we’ve had an exhausting day and we feel fit to conk out, sleep suddenly eludes us? Our minds start racing, our breath becomes shallow and we toss and turn in frustration until the wee hours.
We might eventually get to sleep but all too soon, dawn rolls around and it’s time to get up. And so begins another day of struggling to stay awake, relying on caffeine and sugar to keep us going and lacking the energy to do anything other than the most basic activities. Then, by the time we get to bed that night, the whole process repeats itself.
It’s a vicious – and pretty tiring – circle.
Luckily, there is a way to break this sleepy chain. By adopting a few simple habits into your daily life, you can start to get the great sleep you deserve, on a regular basis. They’re all simple, cheap and completely natural tips, too!
1. Exercise often
When you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, exercise might be the furthest thing from your mind. You feel completely worn out, and the very thought of going for a jog is enough to send you diving under the covers.
But trust me on this – force yourself just one time to get some exercise in, and you won’t regret it. Instead, you’ll start looking forward to your exercise time as a chance to unwind and relax!
Try to carve out half an hour a day for a fitness activity of your choice, and you’re bound to feel like a new person in no time.
Your body will feel like it’s had a workout, your mind will feel clearer and sleep will feel more like a friend than an enemy when it’s time to lay down your head.
If you can get some fresh air in while you’re at it – for instance, by going for a hike or a swim in the sea – even better.
Because lounging around in your pjs all evening isn’t going to help your sleep habits. So get out there and embrace the Great Outdoors!
2. Eat wisely
You might have a pretty healthy diet already but did you know that there are certain foods you can turn to that actually promote sleep?
Take turmeric, for example. Long hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties in ayurvedic medicine, this golden wonder of spices is perhaps best known by most people for its yummy taste and striking colour in curries.
But it does a lot more than please the palate and the eyes. Turmeric has some wonderful healing properties, and it can even bring you a sounder sleep!
Why, you ask? Well, turmeric is rich in antioxidants and it also gives the immune system a boost. So you won’t have digestive problems or high blood sugar keeping you up all night. Phew.
Personally, I love to make a turmeric latte before bed. I mix 1tsp of ground organic turmeric with half a tsp each of ginger and cinnamon. Then I add some warmed almond milk and sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg. Tasty, healing and sleep-inducing…it’s a winning combination.
PS: Just while we’re on the subject of eating wisely… sugar and caffeine are sleep’s greatest enemy. So if you need a daily caffeine fix, make sure it’s before 2pm; otherwise it could still be working its wakening effects on your system when you’re supposed to be settling down. Bummer.
3. Sleep soundly
When it comes down to sleepytime, well, there’s lots of natural things you can do to help you on your way. Having a long soak in the tub with your favorite essential oils is one. Doing a guided “tense and release” meditation before bedtime is another.
You could also check out what people like The SleepAdvisors have to say. Get advice on optimal sleeping positions, gadgets and podcasts to help you nod off and how to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. You’ll be headed for Snoozeville before you know it!
Hopefully these quick and natural tips will bring you the restful nights you’ve been craving. And remember, these things take time. But if you incorporate these elements into your lifestyle over say, the next two weeks, notice how your sleep changes. I’ll bet there’s a big improvement!