Postdate: 30 June 2016
The process before you go to bed has a huge impact on your sleep. An average adult needs about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but this differs per individual. During your sleep, all kinds of processes are going on in your brain and body: waste products are removed and broken down and impressions are processed. You can do a lot yourself to influence your sleep as positively as possible.
The best way to fall asleep is to find a relaxing ritual before you go to bed. A warm bath or relaxing shower can be a first step to prepare yourself for the night. Did you know that cold feet often prevent you from falling asleep? A hot water bottle or woollen socks can really help a lot. Worrying also is a real sleep killer. You can slow down your thoughts by writing down your worries or priorities or by focusing on your breathing. Another way to do this is through yoga or meditation.
There are more ways to tell your mind to get some rest. It has been proven that reading or quiet music ensures that you fall asleep faster and more easily. Devices have an adverse effect: by looking at a screen, the production of the sleeping hormone melatonin is hampered. This is because your brain stays active to process all the stimuli. Furthermore, nicotine has an uplifting effect, so there is a link between smoking and sleeping badly.
In order to get your body into sleeping mode, a structure is important. Choose a fixed time for going to bed and getting up in the morning. This is often a matter of trial and error and finding out what suits you best. When you spend a large part of the day sitting down, it can be difficult to become physically tired. This can result in having even more trouble falling asleep as you, unconsciously, want to force yourself to fall asleep. Taking 30 minutes in the morning or afternoon to get some exercise, by doing some fitness, taking a walk, or swimming, will surely help, The most important thing is that you feel good about it yourself!