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Sleep Health – 10 Ways to Switch Off

Sleep Health - Women lying in bed

Do you have trouble switching your mind off at bedtime? Sleep health might be the answer to getting a better nights sleep.

You’re not alone. Too many of us just can’t seem to switch off our minds at bedtime. Racing thoughts, gnawing concerns, rehashing past events, worrying about the future – night time seems to be the time the human mind goes into overdrive. This disrupts and compromises sleep, and leads to tiredness the next day.  

Why is Sleep Health Important?

Being healthy is crucial, and health is multifaceted. Sleep plays a very important role in your health and wellbeing – from all perspectives. Your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing all rely on you getting adequate, quality sleep on most nights. 

Failure to get enough quality sleep can directly result in:

  • Feeling tired the next day
  • Low energy and poor performance
  • Memory issues
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Headaches on waking
  • Mid-afternoon slump
  • Weight gain
  • Compromised immunity and more viral illnesses
  • Increased risk of accidents, especially at work or on the road
  • Vulnerability to Type II diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and cancer

Do You Have a Racing Mind at Night?

Humans experience, on average, approximately 50,000 thoughts per day. It’s enough to make you feel weary just thinking about it!

The mind-body connection is very strong. A fraught mind directly results in a stressed body. Sleep is near impossible – and if you do manage to go to sleep, you’ll likely sleep restlessly and experience disturbing dreams.

Quietening the mind is the first step to falling asleep. Easier said than done? You’re not alone. 

Bedtime is the only time, for many of us, that we’re alone with our thoughts. There are no other distractions, so we (inadvertently or intentionally) rehash the day’s events and think about tomorrow. Unfortunately, our minds frequently commandeer this time with negative thoughts – worries, concerns, fears, etc – and we can experience racing thoughts, which are the opposite of what will lull us to sleep.

Racing thoughts arise from excitement, over-stimulation, anxiety, stress, worry, relationship issues, financial concerns, and medical conditions including OCD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and can even be a side effect of some medications. 

You need to learn to calm your body and your mind by “switching off”.

10 Sleep Health Ways to “Switch Off” at Bedtime

1. Adopt a Regular Sleep Schedule

Go to bed at the same time each night. Wake at the same time each morning. Even on weekends! This will establish your circadian rhythms (internal clock) and promote good sleep patterns. Try to avoid making daytime naps your normal practice.

2. Create a Bedtime Routine

The human body craves routine, and a bedtime routine will help you subconsciously associate particular activities with going to sleep.

Your bedtime routine may include:

    • Stretching or doing gentle yoga
    • Taking a warm bath or shower
    • Meditation or prayer
    • Spending quiet time with your pet
    • Listening to quiet, soothing music
    • Turning off lights
    • Drinking warm milk or chamomile tea
    • Reading a book

3. Avoid Electronics Before Bed

Digital screens are the enemy of sleep! They significantly disrupt the brain chemicals dopamine and melatonin. This, in turn, stimulates the mind and makes sleep very difficult. You need to switch off backlit e-readers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, and TVs at least an hour before bedtime.

4. Your Bed is Exclusively for Sleep 

What do you use your bed for? Mind association is powerful. Your bed should be for sleeping, intimacy with your partner, and quiet resting/reading. Do not use your bed (or bedroom, ideally) for doing paperwork, watching TV, playing digital games, or other activities which stimulate the mind or cause you stress.

5. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Sleep is most easily achieved in a quiet, dark, cool room. The ideal temperature for sleep is 16-19 degrees Celsius. Your bed should be a comfortable haven and you need a comfortable pillow. Turn digital clock faces away from the bed.

6. Relax Mindfully

Focus your mind and relax your body with mindful breathing, taking several deep, slow breaths and counting while inhaling and exhaling. If you are so inclined, quiet prayer or meditation is a great way to wind down before sleeping. 

7. Focus Positively

Eliminate stress by focusing on right now and think happy calm thoughts. If any negative thoughts arise, dismiss them and replace them with positive ones.

8. Keep a journal, and write down thoughts, to-do lists, worries, and other things you wish or need to focus on later.  Do this at least an hour before bedtime. This is a powerful tool for letting go of worries knowing you can return to them later if you need to. In the light of a new day, many will seem to be of not as much importance as you’d thought at night – and coming back to challenges later can bring a new perspective and solutions.

9. Regular Exercise

Exercising keeps you healthy. It balances your hormones, benefits your physical, mental, and emotional health, and helps your body and mind rest at night. Except for gentle stretching/yoga, exercise no sooner than a few hours before bedtime. 

10. Address Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

Sleep health is dramatically compromised by snoring and sleep apnoea, be it you or your partner that experiences it. Address these and find the solutions to stop snoring as soon as possible.

Sleep Better – How to Stop Snoring

Snoring is a major impediment to a good night’s sleep. ApneaRX may be the solution for you. It is an anti-snoring device which may also help people who suffer from sleep apnoea. It is a medical-grade oral device which gently repositions the lower jaw at night while you sleep.

ApneaRX is risk-free and the ideal solution to help address snoring for any adult over the age of eighteen years.  

To explore how ApneaRX can help you stop snoring, sleep better, and have an easier time getting to sleep,  learn more about how ApneaRX works here or call 0800 111 325.