Sweet dreams are made of this…the best ways to help you sleep soundly and have positive dreams.
Sleep is one of the fundamental contributors to our overall health. Without it we simply cannot function effectively, nor can we renew, recharge or have sufficient energy to live life as we choose. Ideally, we should have eight uninterrupted hours of sleep to be at our best. Many people find this challenging – not having the time, unable to regulate a sleep pattern, having disturbed nights, as well as bad dreams or nightmares coming in to play.
Focussing on making sleep as restful as possible is something extremely positive to our health and wellness and not something we ought to neglect or sacrifice. Here are some achievable ways to enhance your daily hibernation – make your sleep worthwhile, and your dreams full of positivity and light…
Whether you recognise the fact or not, we are creatures of comfort. Having a really comfortable, and comforting, sleeping environment is paramount to getting those necessary hours of slumber. If your bed and bed linen are not helping your sleep then you need to update. A comfortable mattress, pillows and sheets make a big difference. Find your favourites and you’ll feel the change, even the colour can affect our mood and sentiment. Also make sure you are warm enough at all times throughout the night, but not too warm, sleep research shows that when either too cold or too hot people experience fitful and disrupted sleep patterns.
Where do animals go to hibernate? They don’t lie outside in the sun or under a tree, they head for a dark, quiet place where they will remain undisturbed for the entirety of the duration. We are the same. We need quiet, dark and no interruptions for our sleep to be fully effective. This is how we must create our sleeping environment; black-out blinds or curtains – or if not possible opt for a comfortable eye mask – peace and quiet: close the door, wear ear plugs if there are outside noises or potential interruptions, turn off any machinery or other household items that may incur a disturbance, keep your devices out of the room or switch onto silent, turn off notifications etc. – even the screen lighting up at the indication of a notification can rouse us.
This is an obvious one but the amount of stress we carry in our day will affect first our ability to get to sleep as well as later potentially interrupting our sleep. A stressful day can cause a stressful night. Problems in our lives can prevent us from being able to switch off and fall asleep. Once we are asleep our dreams can be thwarted by the negative thoughts and energy we have brought into it from our day. Reducing stress or finding tools with which to wind down at the end of the day to manage our stress is imperative to our sleeping pattern and overall health. Without good sleep we are not as capable and therefore more susceptible to stress, and when stressed we are less inclined to sleep well – an ever-decreasing circle which can eventually cause poor health. A good way to reduce stress prior to bedtime is to write down or record your feelings; the literal release of them may well help to keep them in that place until you need to re-address them after a good night’s sleep.
To help you switch off and actually get to sleep there are plenty of apps out there which will play you some white noise, lapping ocean, gentle forest sounds, soft meditative music, etc. all of which are therapeutic, repetitive and calming and do not feature any sudden noises or changes in pitch or tone that could interrupt your path into slumber. These can be set on a timer, so that they don’t run all night, to switch off once you’ve allowed yourself a decent amount of time to drop off.
Limit any screen time to at least one or two hours before bed, the content as well as the screen itself may well cause an alertness and distraction from being able to conjure up a feeling of tiredness or readiness to sleep. Try and keep all devices away from the bedroom altogether. Opt for an old fashioned alarm clock if you need to be woken at a certain time.
When our bodies and minds are programmed in a certain way it helps us to achieve fundamental things in life. When we are hungry our bodies tell us so, thirsty – the same. When we are tired, we know it but to perform a ritual or routine leading up to the time we go to bed is a way of telling ourselves and getting into a rhythm of that tiredness equalling time to sleep. Have a hygiene routine in place at the same time each evening, read a book, sing a song, say a prayer, meditate, as long as it is ultimately relaxing, whatever you decide works for you to tell your body and mind that you are preparing for sleep. If you stick to this the body and mind will automatically begin to expect sleep and therefore it can be achieved as routine.
If you make a specific intention prior to falling asleep as to what you want to consider, dream about and wake up feeling, you may well be able to insight the kind of dreams you have. This works when you conjure up good memories or positive stories you may have heard, you could reminisce or even invent fantasy scenarios to help you find your sweet dream path!
Try and calm your mind and your body and think on positive things, to distract yourself from anything that may be weighing down on you negatively. Think of the most perfect day you could possibly have, from who would be there, to what you would do, what your surroundings look like and how you would feel…drift off into that place and tell someone all about it tomorrow.