You’ve been looking forward to this moment all day and all you want to do is curl up and enjoy the delight of a sleepy night! Finally you climb into bed utterly exhausted, snuggle down then….ping! You’re more awake than you have been all day. You toss and turn and try every imaginable sleep position, even positions you’d not thought of. Your duvet is off then it’s on again. You huff and you puff and your mind runs all over the place. You keep looking at the clock, one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock…five o’clock. As a last resort you try the old remedy of counting sheep. Then when you do eventually nod off and wake up in the morning, you wonder if you ever slept at all. Sound familiar?
So what to do?
If it isn’t a regular occurrence and you’re not prepared for it happening, try these simple tricks;
Don’t try to force yourself to sleep; it will only make matters worse. Get up and do something relaxing, like reading, listening to music or making a nice cup of herbal tea.
Do not to keep looking at the clock; it will make you more anxious watching the time pass slowly.
Try these breathing techniques;
Abdominal breathing: Breathe deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and rib cage. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Muscle relaxation: Starting with your feet; tense the muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10, and then relax. Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up from your feet to the top of your head.
Meditation: Lie quietly and focus on your natural breathing and how your body feels in the moment. Allow thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment, always returning to focus on breath and your body.
Prepare so your sleep is not a nightmare!
There are many documented ways of aiding sleep but we wanted to look at a more natural way of helping and not expensive!
Many ancient herbs have long been known for their soothing and relaxing properties, and there are a number of ways to make use of them, when you’re in desperate need of a good nights sleep.
A cup of herbal tea 30 – 45 minutes before bedtime will work wonders in helping you unwind.
All you need to do is; pick a handful of your chosen herbs. Place in a cup and steep in boiling water for 5 minutes. If you prefer a sweeter taste you can always add some honey. Strain and enjoy not only the taste but the comforting aroma. This is such an easy and effective way in helping with sleep deprivation and promoting calmness. You could even grow your own herbs so you have a choice. Try the following;
Lemon Balm is a sedative, calming herb and is traditionally used to treat sleep problems, nervousness and anxiety
Chamomile is known as the ‘night time’ tea due to its mild sedative effects and its ability to relieve anxiety and encourage a good night’s sleep
Peppermint is sometimes included in bedtime tea as its thought to help calm your internal system, including your mind and may be useful if you have over-indulged and your tummy is keeping you awake
Taking time to relax in a warm herbal bath before you climb into bed is a perfect way to end your day. Try the herbs above or maybe some lavender which also calms nerves and induces sleep.
Simply; put a handful of herbs in a large pan of water and heat to almost boiling; keep the lid on so the essential oils don’t evaporate. Take the pan off the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and pour into a warm bath.
A cute little idea is to make lavender ‘sleep bags’ to place under your pillow. The relaxing scent of the lavender soothes headaches and calm nerves.
They are so easy to make, simply cut out some 9-inch diameter circles of muslin and place lavender flowers (wash these first and allow to completely dry) in the middle of each one. Gather the edges of the circle together and make a small bundle, holding it in place with an elastic band. Then, attach ribbons around the bundle to cover the elastic band.
You could also use dried lavender if you prefer. Simply cut small bunches of fresh flowers and hang them upside down in a warm, dark spot for about 2 weeks. When dry, remove flower heads and store in an airtight container.
Most of us have experienced insomnia at some point in our lives and these are just a few tips to help, but if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis then take a look at this help guide and hopefully improve your sleep.