We cannot under estimate the power of a restorative nights sleep. Many of us say “I sleep like a log”, but how often do we consider the quality of that sleep? Do we wake up feeling regenerated, energised and ready for what the next day will bring? Or do we wake up feeling exhausted, have to force ourselves up and are reaching for the coffee as soon as we get out of bed?!
What Gets In The Way Of Sleep?
Do you override the first wave of tiredness you feel in the evening by drinking caffeine, eating sugary foods, having conversations or watching more TV?
Do you have bright lights on, or engage in screen time be it computer, phone, TV or gaming etc near the end of the day?
Do you make space for any wind down time at the end of the day?
Do you sleep irregularly and fluctuate the amount of time you are in bed?
Do you resist bed time and not look forward to it?
Do you wake up feeling groggy, grumpy or like you need more sleep or caffeine?
10 Tips to Sleep Well:
Exercise can be supportive for sleep if it is not too vigorous, so make time to do some gentle stretching and breathing before bed to release tension and settle the body for sleep.
It is understood that too much lighting can confuse our natural waking and sleeping cycle, be aware of the use of lighting around the house and consider having a lamp or candle on instead of a bright main light as you come closer to the end of the day.
Being breath aware can be supportive at any time of our day, but before bed it can be vital, if you are distracted, anxious or perhaps busy in the mind, meditation can offer a focus, body connection and space for you to let go of tension:
Gently focus on the tip of your nostrils observing and tracking your in and out breath as it comes into the body. Make this breath gentle but purposeful, support your body to settle and release tension.
If you get distracted, instead of getting frustrated or trying to have an empty mind, gently bring back your awareness back to observing your breath, nothing more or less. Continue, be observant, make it a physical activity, focusing on how your breath and body feels. Bring awareness to how the body may respond and alter due to this choice to observe and focus on the quality of your breath.
This is a simple, body and breath connection mediation that brings focus to the body and prevents us getting lost in our thoughts. Meditation can settle and reduce the over stimulation of the nervous system and reduce tension in the body. 
Bath or Shower?
A bath or shower can offer you the space to allow your muscles and you mind to relax and let go of the tensions of the day. Warm water, supportive smells and relaxed muscles work a treat. A personal recommendation is to have Epsom Salts and Lavender oil to hand, it makes for a soothing and supportive experience that gets you ready for a restful nights sleep.
Schedule Your Screen Time
Do not allow screen time be it TV, computer of phone, to creep into the end of your day - give yourself some space at the end of the day to prepare for the next, without over stimulating the mind or the body.
Can we tie up the loose ends of our day?...whether it is preparing for the next day, telling people how you feel, not regretting what was or was not said and allowing space for you to reflect and appreciate.
The Quality Of The Day
Ensuring that the priorities of the day are undertaken with care and consideration and not rushed or half committed to, can have a big impact on how we put ourselves to bed. There is no perfection with this, however making space to consider and refining the quality that we offer our relationships, our tasks, responsibilities and work ensures that we are more likely to go to bed settled and content.
Be Body Aware
Be aware of how your body is feeling. If you feel tired, have a rest and/or go to bed a little earlier. Once you have found a time to go to bed and wake that is supportive for you, make it a consistent time and rhythm in your day, even at the weekends. Although it is important to be responsive to your body and not over-ride its signals and so if you feel unwell or tired etc, additional sleep maybe exactly what is required.
Prepare Your Space
Clean sheets, a warm comfortable bed and good lighting can make bed time something to look forward to. If you are a bit stuck with not enjoying sleep then consider updating your bedroom, curtains and bed linen. If you are feeling pain or discomfort when in bed maybe look at purchasing a new mattress or pillow.* And make your bed every morning ready for the night to come, prepare your space ready for your next sleep by making sure the bed is beautifully made with care and love.
Prepare for your next bed time when you get up…
Thinking about how you want to put yourself to bed, when you get up…may sound a bit strange, however consider our waking and sleeping being part of the same cycle, so one directly impacts on the other. Consider how you can best support yourself throughout the day, so that when you lie down you are ready and able to have a restorative nights sleep.
If we take an exhausted, achy, tense, over stimulated, anxious body to bed, overthinking problems and conversations from the day, we are likely to have a restless sleep or sleep heavily but wake up tired and groggy or be unable to sleep altogether! If we prepare our day, create stop moments, rest, don’t rush and push our bodies we may feel more settled and steady because we have made time to support ourselves. We literally take the day we have had to bed with us and if we have been charging around, upset or stressed then this is exactly what meets us as we meet the pillow.
Commitment and Consistency
It can take time and commitment to refine and alter our sleep patterns. It is a whole body approach to health and well being, however with consistency we can make extremely supportive shifts towards sleeping well and the whole of our body and our life will feel the benefit from that.
Something to consider:
Some people find that massage including remedial massage can be very helpful in improving sleep as it can reduced tension and pain.  We offer tailored individual programmes to enhance and support our clients wellbeing. Contact us if you feel a programme of massage and complementary health may be supportive and we can discuss your individual requirements.
Our clinic Inside Out Health & Wellbeing is based in Wadebridge Cornwall.
For more information see: https://www.chemist-4-u.com/sleep-study/
*We sell orthopedic memory foam pillows at the clinic that can be adapted for individual comfort.
**This blog is an observational piece written through personal and professional experience. It is in no way an alternative to seeking appropriate medical care or advice. It is vital to seek support for our health if required from a medical professional. If you are concerned about your sleep, please do contact your GP.