We’re all guilty of neglecting our nightly routines in favour of just one more episode of our current TV obsession. Or scrolling through Instagram. Perhaps adding stuff to your ASOS basket. The. List. Goes. On.
But one of the biggest doses of self-care you can give yourself is showing your sleep routine a little love. And the best part? It’s as easy as pie. Use our tips to fall back in love with your sleep (pie not included).
adopt a wind-down routine
According to eve’s go-to sleep expert, Christine Hansen, we’re creatures of habit. So, the first step to improve your sleep is to make sure you stick to the same nightly pattern. Doing something night after night helps our body and brain respond to, and welcome, sleep a little better.
Aside from sticking to our bedtimes, add personal touches to your wind-down routine to make the process relaxing and something you look forward to. Whether that’s lighting a candle, putting on a face mask, making yourself a sleep-friendly snack (yep, these exist) or taking half an hour to listen to a podcast.
Worrying about how many hours sleep you’re going to get, or putting pressure on yourself to sleep like a baby isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. Nobody needs that stress right before bed. Taking steps to make your evenings a little calmer work wonders.
Quick breathing exercises, in particular, are great at reducing stress levels at bedtime. Focus on breathing from your stomach. It’s calmer than breathing from your chest. Put your hands flat on your belly and start breathing in for four seconds. Feel it rising. Breathe out for four seconds, and feel your belly sinking. Repeat for as long as you need to. Feel calmer already? Us too.
And if your thoughts go into overdrive as soon as your head hits the pillow, Christine recommends writing them down to diffuse negative thinking. Or start a gratitude journal and write down three good things that happened in your day – from a free Pret coffee or an empty tube seat. Whatever floats your boat.
We spend around 25 years asleep during an average lifetime, so it’s good to love your sleep environment. Is your mattress showing signs of wear and tear? Could the added cloud-like bounce of a topper help? Maybe you find yourself getting hot at night, and need some soft and breathable linen sheets? Okay, we’ll stop the sale spiel now.
As we mentioned, physical wellbeing and sleep are mutually beneficial – and staying active can have an impressive impact on sleep quality. Spending some of the day on the move helps your body, mind and sleep.
Yoga is a particularly handy tool for diffusing mental and physical stress. Downward dog, pronto.
ditch your alarm
You’re in a deep sleep and suddenly the sound of your alarm shocks you awake, leaving you with that groggy haven’t-slept-a-wink-feeling all morning. Sound familiar?
Being awoken mid-sleep cycle isn’t great for energy levels, according to Christine. If you’re happy to part with your usual alarm, there are great apps out there (e.g. Sleep Cycle) that aim to wake you during your lightest phase of sleep. Wake-up light therapy and sunrise alarm clocks are also good options for those tiring of the jolt-inducing phone alarm. Don’t even get us started on that snooze button.