I have trouble sleeping. A lot of people do. I know. In the age we live in we are constantly connected and act more like the computers we are so attached to than we know, constantly needing to update ourselves on what is happening in the world, our agendas, our friends’ agendas, etc. and we can find ourselves so wired that we can’t even begin to think about sleep. When my boyfriend isn’t keeping me awake with the age-old Chinese torture technique of snoring as loudly as possible, here’s what I learned on the Internet to help myself get a decent night’s sleep:
#1 – No coffee after midday – despite the fact that I love coffee in all shapes and forms it really is my biggest downfall. Being particularly sensitive to both sugar and caffeine, I not only find sleeping at night after a day of heavy coffee consumption nigh on impossible, but I also annoy the piss out of my work colleagues all afternoon when I’m talking at a hundred miles an hour and bouncing all over the room.
#2 – No alcohol in the evening – and believe me, I hate this one. I feel like if I had a blood test done there would be more alcohol in my blood stream than actual blood, so telling me I can’t have wine on an evening is like telling me to shoot my cat. I’m just not going to do it. This is one of the pointers on the list where I have to compromise and just have a small glass mid-evening (I’ve even tonight purchased some ‘Alcohol Removed Merlot’ from Asda – I make no promises as to it working any better than my gran telling me to “just pretend that broccoli tastes like a Mars Bar” when I was little, but I’ll keep you updated on that). If you have willpower though (or you’re just not an alcoholic like me) then foregoing the booze is the best plan.
#3 – Exercise – again, I’m not big on exercise. I have extreme OCD for cleanliness (a caffeine sensitive, OCD suffering, lazy, alcoholic – form an orderly queue please, Gents) so I’m forever hoovering and cleaning and I tell myself that’s a decent amount of exercise for me. I’m not looking like a fool at the gym when I nearly pass out after a fifty yard walk on the treadmill. I do however enjoy light yoga and it really does knock me out for the night, so whilst it’s not hardcore exercise as I would like, it’s as hardcore as I get and it works.
#4 – Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – I’m actually pretty good with this thanks to my mum. Being the older child, I was the one who didn’t get away with anything and actually had a bedtime until I was twenty-one. I remember walking past my sister and my mum sat on the sofa one evening watching TV and it was around 9.45pm and I was twenty-one, just got in from work (after also being to University for the day) and my mum, without even taking her eyes from the TV screen, casually said as I walked past, “shouldn’t you be in bed now, it’s 9.45 you know”. My little sister (who got away with everything) smirked as I walked upstairs. The bitch. That being said, it’s now instilled in me and my body does tend to get ready for sleep mode around half nine so I’m in a good routine as it stands. Thanks Mum. I’m thirty-one.
#5 – Make your bedroom cosy – we don’t have a TV in our room. We have cute little lamps that look like Moroccan tealight holders and a cosy bedspread. Sometimes I take a book to bed with me (although I shouldn’t because as every bookworm knows, it turns into a “I’ll just finish the next chapter as well…” and you end up staying up late) JUST because the room looks like a book should be read in it because it looks so cosy. TV’s in bedrooms are a no go. You’ll do the same as the bookworms and “just watch that one more episode of Breaking Bad…”. No TV’s, games consoles, tablets or early Madonna erotica pictures. Just simple, cosy bed.
#6 – Meditation – I tend to do this when my other half is knee deep in zombies, playing ‘Resident Evil’ in his man-cave, because I feel a bit silly when he walks in and I’m sat there cross legged, looking a bit like Uri Gellar. However, meditation helps me to switch off (which I find really difficult with my OCD) and I do sleep better.
It’s also not listed anywhere but green tea really does it for me as well.
I realise this list seems like a lot of clart on just to be able to go to sleep, but let’s face it, we’ve all seen ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and when those kids say, “when you don’t sleep, you start to go”, they really aren’t joking. It’s not good for your mental health and no sleep can actually really kill you. So follow the list, adapt it, change it completely, make it work for you and if your partner is anything like mine, maybe add “#7 – sleep in spare room” to the bottom of the list…