Why can’t I sleep?

We all need a good night’s sleep to function optimally, yet many of us never get it. There could be immeasurable reason for this, but a few of the common ones have to do with poor sleep hygiene, consuming stimulants late in the day and dietary factors. These are factors that you can address with some simple techniques and a healthy night time routine.

Sleep hygiene refers to the routine you practice in the hours before going to bed. It’s easy to sit up late and watch tv right up until you go to bed, or take the laptop and watch or play on the internet whilst in bed. You may even have a mug of coffee or tea beside you and a few pieces of choccie. This is poor sleep hygiene, because you are not signalling to your body that it’s time to wind down and start producing sleep hormones.  When you do decide to hit the hay, you might find yourself lying awake, tossing and turning, unable to switch off.

Good sleep hygiene looks like this:

  • At least 1 hour before bed, turn off the lights and leave on a lamp or himalayan salt lamp. This dimming of lights signals to your body that it’s time to start making melatonin, our sleep hormone.
  • Turn off the tv, computer, and all electrical devices at this time too (1 hour before bed). Limiting distractions allows your mind to slow down.
  • Write in a journal, chat quietly with your partner, sip a cup of chamomile or passionflower tea in this hour before bed. Do not consume any caffeine after lunch time if you are having trouble sleeping.
  • 15 minutes before you’re ready for bed, lay down and do some deep breathing, or a gentle meditation to really calm down your mind and body.

There are plenty of dietary factors that come into play to ensure you get a good night’s sleep too, such as making sure you eat dinner at least 2 hours before bed, and limiting your intake of sugar throughout the day. For further tips and help with re-adjusting your sleep routine, contact the UFS Wellness Clinic on 5443 4610.