Getting adequate rest and sleep is vital to good wellbeing. If you’re not able to sleep, this is a big red flag that things aren't balanced for you at the moment and you may need to seek further advice or help.
Research suggests that for optimal wellbeing on average we require 7-8 hours sleep a night.
Here are some tips to ensure you get the best sleep possible:
- Stick to a regular bedtime and rising time.
- Avoid all caffeine (tea, coffee, soft drinks) from about 3pm.
- Avoid alcohol, especially if you use it to get to sleep.
- Allow at least 30 minutes for winding down. Don't go straight to bed after being out, working, exercising or watching TV.
- Use this time to engage in quiet relaxing activity i.e. reading, warm shower or bath, listening to (relaxing) music.
- Minimise all bright lights. If you have bright lights in the bathroom, use candles or other lighting while preparing for bed.
- This is a biggie: don't take your phone, tablet or laptop to bed, and avoid using them 30 minutes before bed. The back lights and closeness to your eyes have been shown to interfere with sleep. For some, they can cause insomnia.
- Once in bed, if you're struggling to sleep, allow 30 minutes to try to drop off, then get up. Go and do something quiet out of bed and in a dimly lit room. TV is OK, reading is better. Avoid devices then try to sleep again. Avoid long periods of time in bed trying to sleep.
- Learn and use mindfulness techniques to focus on relaxation. Accept not being able to sleep, and allow yourself to simply rest.
- Allow some time to retrain yourself. If you must use medication, minimise it to every third or fourth night.
Why do we need to sleep?
In the following video, Deepak Chopra, M.D. leads us through a guided meditation to ease us into rest, and also to reimagine what our sleep space can be.