How to get a good night’s sleep
As parents around the world will testify, a good night’s sleep is something you only really appreciate when you don’t get it. Now there’s not much you can do to make a baby grow up more quickly, but there are a lot you can do to promote good sleep in general.
Start with your bedroom
It can be tempting to think of a bedroom as just a room with a bed in it. In actual fact, it should be a room which promotes sleep. Ideally this should be the room’s only purpose, but that can be impractical in reality. If a bedroom does have to do double-duty (e.g. as an office), then try to create a distinct sleeping area. This should be free from all the distractions which hinder sleep, particularly electronic devices. If you absolutely must have a mobile on a night time, put it well away from the bed and set the ringtone loud enough so that it will wake you up. Make your sleeping area as comfortable as you can afford, e.g. use a quality mattress and bedding.
Develop a bedtime routine
When you were little, there’s a good chance your parents had a bed-time routine laid out for you, maybe dinner, bath, chill-out time, hot drink, story, bed. Maybe you didn’t realize it at the time but each of those steps prepared your body and mind for sleep. This works for adults too. If at all possible, eat your evening meal early enough that you have plenty of time to digest it before going to bed. Then try to organize your evening so that you are steadily winding down before bedtime. A zingy shower with citrus shower gel may be wonderful in the morning, but in the evening a bath, or at least, a gentle shower with a relaxing scent is a better choice. Likewise pass on the caffeine and go for soothing hot drinks. Deep breathing can also help to make you feel more relaxed.
Manage your overall well-being
Sometimes it’s the little niggles that people often don’t think worth worrying about that stop a good night’s sleep. Those aches and pains you just ignore and soldier on through. The general feeling of being run-down and/or stressed out you just have to deal with. These can have many causes, such as poor diet or unhealthy habits such as smoking. In some cases, they can be a sign of a more serious problem and need attention from a doctor. In many cases, however, they are just symptoms of the fast-paced, always-on modern world we live in. Dealing with them, therefore, can be as simple as making some time in your diary to switch off your phone and switch on to the benefits of complementary therapies such as massage and reflexology. In addition to their practical health benefits, they can also help to relieve stress. They are particularly valuable for people with busy, hectic lives, be that for work-related reasons or for personal reasons, such as having young children. At the end of the day, “me time” is essential for everyone. Unless you take care of yourself, how will you take care of the people you love?