5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Sleep

23 November, 2011

simple sleep

simple sleep

Sleep is such an important part of our lives and yet can prove so elusive, can’t it?

If you are like me, you go through phases of thinking that at last you’ve cracked the code to good, consistent, restful sleep. And then, out of the blue, you have a night of restless sleeplessness.

The secret has slipped through your fingers. All those things that have previously worked for you suddenly seem to have lost their efficacy, and you are left feeling powerless and frustrated.

Finding some answers to the question of how to achieve lasting, consistent sleep is the subject of this blog. SleepAngels is a place to explore the issues surrounding sleep.

Sometimes that will mean following the academic institutions whose main purpose is to research the technical and medical aspects of sleep. Other times it is to look at the mystery of sleep from a more personal, perhaps even philosophical point of view.

There are plenty of helpful and effective techniques for improving your sleep. I hope you will use this blog as a resource to find the ones that work for you. But there are also more general aspects of your life that you will want to look at. For, ultimately, if your life is in balance, you are more likely to feel energised during the day and sleep blissfully well at night.

Here is a five step plan to achieve balance in your life:

Simplify

We are constantly bombarded with advertising and media suggesting that we can’t live without the latest luxury, gadget, car or holiday. “Keeping up with the Jones’s” has become an obsession for many of us in both the developed and developing countries. We are programmed to consume.

This puts a great deal of pressure on us, however. How can we ever truly compete on this level? There is always going to be someone (or many people in most cases) who are wealthier, have a faster car (or three), go on more exotic holidays and live in the huge mansion up the road.

Simplification of one’s life can actually allow one to savor it more. Competing less does not reduce one’s appreciation of the good things in life, it increases it. Cut down on the shopping, the internet surfing, the watching of television programs that you can’t remember having watched the next day. Ride the bike to work, or take the bus.

Take a piece of paper and a pencil and write down all the things that you could do without. Is it physical or mental clutter that is keeping you awake at night, when you should be fast asleep?

It’s the little things that make life worth living – for me it is playing with my two-year-old son or kicking a ball around with his big brother, going for a walk with my wife, or eating a simple salad full of fresh, raw goodness. Life is about being, not just doing. Slow down, simplify and enjoy it.

Breath

Breath. Breath deeply. Follow one of the breathing exercises on this blog or take a yoga class to learn how. The simple art of breathing properly is one of the body’s most effective antidotes to stress. You will find yourself calming down and ready for sleep.

Be Mindful

There is much current scientific research to reinforce the connection between mindfulness and a relaxed state of mind. Be aware of the present moment, for that is all the reality that there is. If you can sit and focus on your body, the gentle rhythm of your breath, the beating of your pulse, your feelings and your thoughts, any anxiety which you are feeling will quickly be replaced by stillness and serenity.

Eat With Care And Awareness

Poor eating (and drinking) habits are a major contributor to impaired sleep. Plan for sleep with appropriate food and drink, especially in the last quarter of the day. Simply avoiding spicy or carb-laden foods, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, sugar and too much red meat within a few hours of bedtime can improve the quality of your sleep dramatically.

Sleep Beautifully

By which I mean create a beautiful environment for sleep. Ensure that you are comfortable, warm and safe. Make your bedroom an oasis of calm, free from any distractions such as clutter, television or computer. Understand the rhythms of sleep and the effects of light and dark. And make your bedroom a sacred place to be used only for simple sleep and intimacy.

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