There’s so much in our lives to stop us sleeping better, isn’t there?
Work stress, parenting, financial worries, family conflicts, illness and grief all take their toll on our sleep. They can stop us falling asleep and from getting the deep sleep we need for a good night’s rest.
But bizarrely, we then make things worse by sabotaging our sleep even further will all the crazy props we use to cope with our underlying stress.
We blast our bodies with caffeine, sugar and alcohol and stay up half the night binge watching shows, pulling late nighters at work or endlessly and mindlessly scrolling our phones.
It’s no surprise we can’t sleep!!
And it’s no surprise most sleep tips and sleep remedies don’t help. No fancy mattress or bedtime yoga routine will tackle the underlying stress that stops us sleeping AND fuels our sleep sabotaging habits, will it?
So what on earth are we meant to do?
Well, in the end, we have to address the stress in our lives but in the meantime there are a few really surprising simple tips that can help us sleep better. And they work because they:
- gently build our strength to tackle the big stuff.
- AND ease out our why-on-earth-I-am-doing-this destructive habits.
So what are these magical sleep tips?
Well to be honest, nothing new and nothing magical. They are just the long forgotten natural rhythms that help our bodies and minds sleep better.
The big surprise is these six sleep tips are ALL about what we do during the day and not about what we do at bed time. They are incredibly simple changes we can easily build into our day – and won’t cost us a thing!! – but they really can help us sleep better.
Do check them out. I hope they help.
6 Simple Tips To Sleep Better
1. Get Outside First Thing
The first of these sleeps tip is unbelievably simple but unbelievably powerful and it is: get outside first thing and get daylight.
Even in winter, get outside as soon as it is light.
This simple habit instantly sets our circadian rhythm which is how every other animal and plant on the planet knows when to sleep.
It works for them and it can for us if we give it a chance. At least five or ten minutes outside in the daylight every morning wakes us up and sets the clock ticking so we are ready to sleep at night.
2. Drink 3 Glasses Of Water First Thing
The second sleep tip is again crazily simple.
But drinking 3 glasses of cold water when we get up helps lots because it kick starts our metabolism and releases the energy we need to start the day without caffeine or sugar.
It doesn’t mean we have to ditch our morning coffee but getting our metabolism moving first thing without coffee helps reduce the caffeine dependency which stops so many of us sleeping.
Getting our metabolism moving naturally in the morning also helps us to cut those sugar cravings we feed to keep us going.
Cutting both caffeine and sugar makes a massive difference to our sleep as they both keep our bodies awake and fuel our underlying stress but it’s much easier to reduce them if we focus first on giving our bodies the good stuff we need to feel energised without them. Drinking more water when we get up helps enormously and so does my third sleep tip.
3. Eat Nuts Everyday
To sleep well every night our bodies need a whole bunch of minerals and vitamins. Magnesium and calcium are key but also the full of whack of B vitamins : B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12.
Many of us are deficient in these even if we are taking vitamin tablets because we don’t absorb them as well in tablets as we do in food.
An easy effective way to get a full dose of the minerals and vitamins we need to sleep better – especially if you are a vegetarian – is a handful of mixed nuts and seeds everyday.
They are easy to eat as a quick snack on the go or chucked on cereal or salad or blended into smoothies or soups or as toppings on bakes.
4. Walk Everywhere
OK on to sleep tip number 4.
Now, we often hear that exercise helps us sleep and it can but intensive exercise can also raise adrenalin levels and with our non-stop, over busy lives – and crazy phone addictions!! – many of us are already maxed out on adrenalin and really don’t need any more. Super high adrenalin levels are a big reason lots of us find switching off at bed time so hard.
Walking, on the other hand, can provide good cardio exercise but
- stabilises and lowers those adrenalin spikes.
- and – it’s been shown – actually reduce stress and anxiety.
So do what our ancestors did and walk everywhere you possibly can every single day.
It’s not just our sleep that will get better. Research has shown over 25 big health benefits of walking a mile a day, covering everything from blood pressure and diabetes through back pain to depression.
How good is that?
5. Keep A Mini Journal
This next sleep better tip takes a little bit of effort but we’re still talking easy-peasy: just spend a few minutes daily to write down notes on your day.
This is not a diary. It’s not a fancy-pancy bullet journal. It’s just a few minutes of free flow writing – some days more, some days less – writing whatever comes to mind without trying to capture every detail.
You can make it part of your bedtime routine but it can work much better at the beginning of the evening. Writing the mini journal can help us sleep better because it helps us let go of all those churning thoughts in our head.
And it turns out, letting go is key to sleeping better.
6. Let Go Of A Little Everyday
In today’s world we are all bombarded by stuff, experiences and communication. We just don’t have time to enjoy the good things or process any of it. So we end up gorging on new stuff and clinging onto clutter.
Physical stuff. Emails. Photos. Paperwork. The lot.
We hold onto it for dear life until our homes and minds are bursting with it. But if we don’t let stuff go – physically and mentally – we can’t sleep properly because sleep isn’t just about physical rest, it’s about mental housekeeping.
As time passes and our lives move on we have to let go little by little everyday of the baggage we accumulate in our lives, if we are ever to enjoy the peace of a good night’s sleep.
That might all seem very airy fairy.
But we can make it real by taking just five minutes or so everyday to declutter a few things that are no longer part of our lives.
The more we do it, the easier it becomes to let things go.
And the more little things we let go the better we are able to focus on those big challenges that really cause our stress and stop us sleeping.
So there you go six very simple changes to what we do during the day that really can help us sleep better at night. They don’t cost us a thing and you’ll be amazed at the difference they can make:
- Get outside as soon as it’s light
- Drink lots of water first thing
- Eat a handful of nuts & seeds
- Walk lots
- Keep a mini journal
- Let go of a few things every day
Do give them a go.
And for more simple natural remedies check out these posts: