Modern life can mean we get little chance to switch-off – smart phones, tablets and laptops follow us everywhere we go. Couple this with young children, pets, long working hours and other responsibilities and it can be hard to get the right amount of quality sleep needed to recharge your batteries, leaving people with little energy and susceptible to higher levels of stress.
However all is not lost, there are some simple ways you can manage your sleep, energy and stress levels this winter and the negative effects an out of control cycle can have.
1. Make Your Bedroom Somewhere You Want To Be
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for rest and sleep. For a peaceful night’s sleep I’d recommend:
- Clean or fresh sheets
- No pets or young children allowed – they can lead to a disruptive night
- Ban the phone – blue light from electrical devices has been proven to disrupt sleep
- Open a window or add a blanket – a comfortable temperature is essential
2. It’s All About Routine
Train your brain into switching off at the right time. I’d suggest:
- A warm bubble bath to relax your whole body
- Drinking a hot, milky and caffeine-free drink
- Adding some drops of lavender oil to your pillow
- Playing some gentle music to help you drift off
- Getting up and going to bed around the same time each day
3. Eating Before Bed
Everyone knows to avoid coffee and tea before bed, but it may surprise you to learn that hot chocolate also contains caffeine and won’t actually help you fall asleep.
- Be careful not to drink it too close to bedtime
- Leave at least two hours between your evening meal and the time you go to bed
- Avoid spicy foods close to bedtime as these can cause heartburn
- Stub out the cigarettes – smoking can increase your heart rate
- Avoid alcohol – it may help you nod off but will affect the quality of your sleep
4. Work It Out
When you’re feeling tired the last thing you feel like doing is exercising, but gentle exercise such as an evening walk after dinner can help your body feel as tired as your mind helping you have a more restful sleep.
If you’re prone to high stress levels and find it difficult to switch off try making a list of the things you’re worried about. By physically writing down your stresses you’re ‘removing’ them from your mind, allowing you time to wind down and drift into sleep.
5. Check Your Medication
Sometimes, difficulty falling asleep at the end of a day or sleeping well but feeling fatigued when awake can be down to the medication you take and even the way you take it. Some medicines can cause muscle tension and people often don’t realise their inability to sleep stems from this. Your local pharmacist can help identify where a change to your medication or to the time you take it will help improve your sleep and energy levels.
6. See Your GP If Things Don’t Improve
If you’re still feeling tired, lethargic or overwhelmed after taking steps to improve your sleep you should visit your GP, as you may be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Most often associated with women in their 20s-40s, CFS is a condition that impacts people’s daily lives but it’s all too often considered to be laziness. Symptoms to look out for include low mood and a general feeling of being unable to carry out simple tasks.
7. Products that may help