I love my bed. Who doesn’t? It’s warm and comfy, with a big fluffy duvet, perfect for snuggling under in the winter. There’s nothing nicer than waking up and not having to get up right away – a Sunday morning lie in with a cuppa. I can picture it now!
When that is just a picture though – when you lie down, every muscle aching, shoulders tense, head pounding, and your thoughts just keep on racing; or when you doze off, only to wake up a few hours later; when all you want is to just go to sleep – then you can start to really hate your bed.
A lack of sleep can seriously affect our health and wellbeing. Mood swings – well, who doesn’t get grumpy when their tired? Difficulty concentrating and low mood are also common, and you probably recognise the feelings. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also lead to low immunity, weight gain, high blood pressure, low libido and other health issues?
So – a good night’s sleep is important. What can you do to get there?
Routine and wind down
Remember when you were a child, and you seemed to sleep easily? You probably had a bedtime routine, including a hot bath and a fixed time to head off to your bed. It isn’t coincidence that this helped you fall asleep each night.
Set a routine that include winding down before bedtime. Put the screens away an hour beforehand, read a book, write a To Do list to empty your mind of the next day’s tasks – whatever you find works to distract your mind. Finally go to bed at the same time each night. It may take a few days to settle down, but you’ll get the hang of it.
You are what you eat
A healthy diet doesn’t just help you feel better. Fresh fruit and veg will improve your digestion, removing feelings of bloat and helping you feel more relaxed at night.
There are other things you can cut out or reduce in your diet that will also improve your sleep. Caffeine is a stimulate that can stay in your system for about 6 hours, so try to avoid drinking it in the afternoon; alcohol is shown to interrupt your natural sleep rhythm, so less is best.
Exercise and fresh air
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. Even a short walk outside in the fresh air will help. Exercise helps release endorphins, the body’s natural happy juice, reducing stress levels and relaxing your mind. Fresh air and exercise will also help tire your body, helping you to sleep better.
Reflexology and massage
You might assume that a massage will help you sleep by relaxing your tired and aching muscles. With a reflexology massage, you’ll find far greater benefits.
By applying a gentle pressure to points in your hands and feet, reflexology can release tension throughout the body and relieve symptoms of fatigue. Studies have shown that reflexology can improve digestion, lift your mood and promote a better sleep.
If you’re suffering from lack of sleep, then treat yourself to a reflexology session. You’ll not only feel more relaxed, healthier and with an improved sense of wellbeing, you’ll find yourself on the way to a calm and restful night.