Difficulties sleeping? Tossing and turning? Anxiety or ideas going round in circles and preventing you from sleeping? Finding it hard to concentrate on work the next morning and wishing you were feeling energetic and refreshed?

Sleeping is switching off

First, it is important to understand how sleep works in order to make sense of those “gaps” during the night when sleep is eluding you. We all sleep in sleeping cycles of about 1h30 –going first into deep sleep and then into light sleep and dreaming before starting another cycle again. We may wake up in between 2 cycles. If we wake up fully and have difficulties sleeping, we may find it hard to fall back to sleep before the next cycle, therefore spending the next hour and a half or so awake.

We do not all need the same amount of sleep. Light sleepers may feel perfectly refreshed with only 5 hours of sleep, heavy sleepers may need 10!

So how do you know if you are sleeping enough? A good indication is if you feel tired during the day. Then you are probably not getting enough sleep.

Your sleeping environment

If sleeping is a problem, you may want to check your sleeping environment first:

  • avoid light and noise in the bedroom, even the smallest standby light or alarm clock fluorescent numbers is too much,
  • all electrical devices (radio-alarm clock, mobile phone…) are to be avoided but if you cannot, put them at least one meter away from your head,
  • choose a good mattress and a nice sleeping environment,
  • the room needs to be not too hot and well aired,
  • NO screen (TV, PC) in the bedroom (if you cannot avoid one, cover it during the night and switch it off completely),
  • avoid watching TV or using a computer or any kind of screen for at least ½ hour before going to bed,
  • go to bed at regular times as much as possible and establish a bed time routine,
  • be ready to go to bed when sleep comes: when you feel your eyes itching, closing, feeling heavy…, go!
  • eat not too late, not too much (avoid meat, alcohol and cigarettes at night),
  • if you do sports, avoid it late in the evening,
  • take a warm shower or bath, but not too hot (it would raise the body temperature too much, sleep only happens when your body temperature decreases slightly), add lavender essential oil to it to calm you down if need be.

More tips on sleeping better next month! Good night, sleep tight!

Florence Parot