So many people I talk with are sleep deprived and seldom get a sound nights sleep, if prolonged, lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression and many other poor health factors. For many years I suffered terribly with insomnia nowadays I sleep soundly with minimal waking. Here’s a few tips that work for me and I am sure they will work for you also ;-).
Generally getting to bed before 9pm is ideal, as the quality of sleep is greater; my mum has always said ‘every hour before midnight is equal to two hours sleep’… I use to think this was just her way of having a quite house by early evening but there is a science behind it. The “Sleep Health Foundation” concurs with mum’s advice:
Your best quality of sleep is obtained when your circadian rhythm is at its lowest point (usually between 10 pm – 5 am). Therefore even if you obtain a good amount of sleep (7-9 hours), going to bed late is likely to lead to a large amount of your sleep being highly inefficient. To take advantage of this plan your evening so that you have nothing to do but relax from 9 pm. Then go to bed when you feel the sleep wave: a period where you will feel highly drowsy (for most people this will occur between 9-10 pm).
In this case, I must admit… mum really does know best!
On the topic of sleep, I cannot over emphasise the need for good quality & quantity of time in slumberland. While pulling an all-nighter completing work, up with sick kids etc. can bring a feeling of temporary euphoria, running on adrenalin the following day, long-term sleep deprivation is detrimental for the mind and body. On the other hand, balanced circadian rhythms can contribute to good mental health.
Throughout depression I tried many sleep enhancement techniques, herbal teas, deep breathing and listening to soft worship. All were very helpful but the most effective was ‘quite awake time’. Where we live, often we lose power, when this happens we have no artificial light, no screens (computer or television) and no loud disruptive noise (with the exception of a toddler tantrum) . In this quite wakefulness, we will read by candlelight or nightlight, play a board game, watch the storm (often why the power is out) and go to bed much earlier than usual. What would result by morning is a deep peace and calm in our home, somehow the combination of being fully caught up on sleep, as well as quite awake time the previous evening, tilted our moods towards happiness. Give it a go… no screens, no bright lighting before bed and you’ll be counting zzz’s instead of sheep! x