To celebrate today’s publication of The Awesome Power of Sleep, I’m sharing two simple lists which are at the core of a good sleep pattern. They are what I call Sleep Positives and Sleep Negatives. Positives are things that are good to have in the 1-2 hours of winding-down before sleep and Negatives are all things we should avoid if we possibly can.
They apply to adults and teenagers and children! Adults, I’m watching you!
It’s all about SLEEP HYGIENE, the starting point to good sleep.
Sleep hygiene is about making good choices during your 1-2 hour winding-down time. (You do have a winding-down time, right? If you don’t, don’t be surprised when you don’t sleep well.) Following these guidelines will help your brain and body become sleepy.
There are two important elements to the winding-down time:
- Doing certain things (sleep positives) and avoiding others (sleep negatives)
- Building a routine
Some things help us sleep: I call them ‘sleep positives’. And some make it harder to sleep: I call them ‘sleep negatives’.
Include as many of these as you like during the 1.5 hours before you want to sleep:
- Dark or dim light in your room – close curtain/blind; switch off screens; use dim lamps
- Shower or bath
- Soft, slow music
- Lavender oil – a few drops in a bath or on a pillow
- Rub a herbal sleep blend or balm on your wrists and behind your ears or on your pillow or pyjamas. This Works do a brilliant set of sleep aids HERE.
- Use an oil burner to heat a few drops of oil such as lavender, bergamot, valerian, orange – some of these are not cheap but lavender is relatively inexpensive and you only need a few drops
- Stretches or gentle yoga
- Light snack if hungry – not too sugary. For example, a small sandwich, piece of cheese and fruit; cream cheese on oatcakes; nuts and seeds
- Small milky drink or herbal tea
- Organise things for the morning and put near door
- Put clothes tidily
- Get into sleeping clothes
- Clean face and brush teeth
- Write journal – I love the HappySelf Journals
- Write any worries down and then put the paper away
- Draw, doodle or colour in
- Read for pleasure
- Move slowly, calmly
Avoid all these during the 1-2 hours before you want to sleep:
- Bright electric light
- Screens apart from ebook readers (and then turn notifications off and bright light down)
- Caffeine – in coffee, tea and cola drinks (unless ‘caffeine-free’, herbal or fruit tea)
- Arguments and stress – avoid stressful conversations with friends by switching off your phone
- Exercise that raises heart rate
- Too much food; any spicy or rich food
- Loud, fast music
- Messy bedroom
- Alcohol – it raises your heart rate and prevents deep sleep, which is essential for restoration
Of course, sometimes anyone can find it hard to get to sleep even if they follow that guidance. You’ll find plenty of advice for those times, too, in my book. I have a great deal of personal experience of them!
The Awesome Power of Sleep will help you sleep. But you won’t fall asleep while reading it!