If there’s one thing most of us don’t get enough of, it’s sleep. It is one of the most basic human functions (and arguably the most important), but even so, it’s something that many of us are happy to give up in favour of other things. Be honest: how many times have you sacrificed sleep to catch up on work, to entertain your kids or even to socialize? Doing so every so often doesn’t do any damage, but if you repeat this behavior frequently, you could be putting your long-term health at risk. If you already feel lacking in energy, irritable and are suffering from headaches and prolonged fatigue, you are probably already seeing some of the effects of sleep deprivation. This is a dangerous game to be playing – but scarily, so many of us have become so used to a lack of sleep, that we have forgotten what a ‘normal’ sleeping pattern is. Of course, there are some things that naturally interfere with our rest, such as if you work odd hours or do shift work. But your relationship with sleep is something you should be prioritizing – here are a few ways you can do so and feel a lot better for it.
Set yourself a bedtime
This might seem juvenile at first. After all, it’s your kids who have a bedtime, not you! But there is a method behind the madness. Just as your schedule other things into your daily routine, such as meetings, your gym class, picking the kids up from school – add your bedtime into your schedule too. It doesn’t have to be exact, but try and set aside an hour in which you want to be in bed by. Seeing your bedtime written down in your journal or as a note in your calendar will hold you accountable to committing to it. That work can wait until tomorrow!
Make sure your bedroom is sleep-friendly
It is quite astonishing how many of our bedrooms are not conducive environments for sleep. Sleep psychology is a huge part of how well rested we are as individuals, so it can be worth taking the time to make your bedroom a restful and peaceful space. Choose dim, ambient lighting rather than a harsh white light – a couple of table lamps and some candles usually do the trick. Invest in a good quality mattress that supports your body while you sleep. John Ryan by Design is just one example of a company that produces some great quality mattresses and beds alike. Top your bed with some cosy pillows and cushions that allow you to melt back into them. Bliss, right?
This is easier said than done, especially for the working parents among us. But try to make a conscious effort to switch yourself off from the madness of the day once you go to bed. This means no answering emails, no scrolling mindlessly through social media – nothing relating to technology if you can help it! Try reading a book instead, or listening to relaxing music. Taking a hot bath is also a failsafe option for many people as part of their bedtime routine. Try and implement these habits into your everyday life, and soon they (and sleep) will become second nature to you.