Why You're Losing Your Ability to Snooze
It’s 2am. Your partners snores softly rise and fall next to you. You toss. You turn. You reach for your phone and play around on Pinterest. This goes on for maybe another hour, perhaps 2. Eventually you drift off- but you wake up drained and exhausted, snoozing your alarm before rising late and rushing off to work.
This isn’t the blissful night of rest you’d been promised! How is it possible to feel so tired, all the freaking time?
Before you go popping sleeping pills an effort to resolve your insomnia woes- let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your sleep to go haywire.
You’re Overdosing on Caffeine You may be tired of hearing this - but if you simply “can’t function” without that 3rd cup of coffee each afternoon- sorry bud, but this is definitely a big factor when it comes to a good nights sleep. The more caffeine we drink- the higher our resistance is to those tangible boosts of energy we receive, and so we end up indulging in more and more to get that fabulous buzz and to carry us through the 4pm slump. Even if you don’t feel buzzed- caffeine lingers in your system for up to 14 hours. 14! And energy drinks are even more damaging, if you chug down one of these puppies at 4pm, you're not only getting a caffeine hit, you're overdosing on sugar big time- which will just exagerrate the effects of the caffeine (initially in a fun bouncy way, but later on- not so much). So, if you’re serious about getting some sleep, it’s time to cut down. Do this slowly to lessen the ill effects and replace with herbal tea + lots of water. Aim for your first week to limit caffeine after 12pm. And maybe a week or so later- cut down to one a morning. And maybe, just maybe, one day you’ll try being coffee-free- just for fun. You may be surprised at the results.
It’s Your Phones Fault
Watch this video- watch it now. The impact that the screens in our modern day lives are having are super-real and we should all be getting very wary of just how much time we spend absorbed in our little digital world. Phone time just before shut eye messes up your melatonin big time. Melatonin is your sleep hormone- he's the guy you really need to show up. Unfortunately, we keep blocking him out by flicking through our Facebook feed, or worse- we shoo him away at 2am when he was just getting settled in for the night. Rude, right? So here’s the thing. I KNOW how exciting instagram is. I get inning cute outfits is addictive. I can see how enticing it is to stalk your 3rd cousins ex-girlfriend... Trust me I understand- however. We need to start valuing our precious bedtime space and shutting off the screen at 9pm, or an hour before bed. Stick to reading a book, journalling or doing a jigsaw. Buy an actual alarm clock and turn that phone off. You’re not going to miss a single thing. Promise.
Your Body Doesn't Realise It’s Sleep Time Do you rush around the house cooking, cleaning or getting shit done right before bed? Do you decide to exercise late at night- just before you need to sleep? Do you watch movies in bed as you try to sleep? If so.. you’re not letting your body wiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnndddddd down. If you’re all go-go-go- you need to send yourself some strong signals that it’s time to rest. As opposed to sending it signals about all the stuff that needs to be done now, tomorrow and next week. As well as following all the other tips on this list (phone off sister- phone off!) I’d also recommend investing in some candles, some lavender oil (incredibly soothing and sleep inducing), and doing some mediation or breathing exercises before bed. Turn your bedroom into a sacred space, one that you feel relaxed and at peace in. Give yourself plenty of time in this space before actual lights out to get in the sleep-zone and invite your little buddy Melatonin along for a snooze.
You’re Staying Up Too Late Ayurveda recommends that we’re all tucked up in bed prior to 10pm. Why? Between 10pm and 2am we enter Pitta zone. Pitta energy is categorised as hot and intense- So if you find yourself experiencing a second wind at midnight and discover a sudden urge to wash all the windows in your house- Pitta energy is at play. Ideally we should be using a different energy- Kapha- to wind down. Kapha hour is between 6pm and 10pm. Kapha is slow, dull, soft and stable. The ideal energy to drift off to sleep in. Read more about how the Ayurvedic clock may be affecting your sleep here.
You Haven’t Let Go of Your Day Final tip- if as soon as your head hits the pillow you start thinking super hard about all the things that happened to you that day, the weird embarrassing thing you did in year 6, the guy who was supposed to call you but didn’t call you, the friend who borrowed your favourite jumper without returning it, the bills you forgot to pay for or what you think you might have for breakfast. Phaaaaa. Stop. You need to let it go. If this is you, start journalling for 10-15 minutes before you switch off the lights. Let it all out. All the things that have been bugging you, boring things that you tend to mill over, what your plan is the next day- anything. Any thoughts that are keeping you awake at night- get them down on paper. Close your journal. Take 10 deep, slow breaths and settle into bed. You might need to repeat this a few times to cover everything.. But eventually you’ll feel a shift and will be we’ll and truly ready to drift off into dreamland.
And for goodness sake, don’t look at your phone.
Ok Sister- those are my tips. Now I'd love to hear from you... how do you ensure that you’re well and truly ready for the land of nod?