It’s something we often say, but is it something we actually think about?
What is a “good” night?
Debatably, it is one that involves a calm decline from the crescendo of your busy day. A slow down-hill stroll towards bed-time, rather than a chaotic sprint to get enough sleep before morning.
A good night is a great way to set up a good morning. As someone who is not a morning person, I find this exceptionally important.
SO what’s the trick? Well, there’s a few up my sleeve, so sit back, relax and take them all in.
Trick 1: Energy Release
This is most commonly practiced as daily exercise, but really, it can be anything… so long as it gets your body moving and blood flowing. So whether that’s running, cycling, gardening, dancing, jumping rope or rolling in the hay… the idea is to release the energy your body has stored for the day of work and activities.
If you don’t release it sufficiently, it may keep you awake.
Trick 2: Brain Dump
I can almost hear you thinking… “huh?”.
What I call brain dumping you may call journalling. The difference is that, where a journal may hold meaning and sentiment, a brain dump’s sole purpose is to empty the burdens of your brain onto paper. It can be messy, poetic, angry, happy, sad, anything. The point is to get it out. When this is done, you are allowing your mind to take a rest from the turmoil and spiral of thoughts you would have otherwise gone to bed with.
These thoughts will very often keep you up, restless, unsettled and upset. When you inevitably get to sleep, they lead to strange dreams. So you’re better off writing them out. This in itself is also a form of energy release.
Trick 3: Herbal Tea
My tea of choice is chamomile. Bonus points for added things, like lavender or apple or rose hip.
Chamomile has been long used as a sedative. And lavender is famous for aiding restful sleep. Find a tea that brings the two together, and you’re almost guaranteed a case of the nods before you even see the bottom.
Trick 4: Be an Early Bird
They don’t just get the worm, they also sleep better too!
People who sleep in tend to have trouble falling asleep at night. This becomes a sort of vicious cycle, sleeping in later, and staying awake longer.
In University, I reached a point where I was waking up at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and had terrible nights trying to get to sleep. Take it from me, be a bit disciplined. Unless of course, you have no where to be in the AM and you work best at night.
Night owls exempt, you go on, do your thing.
Trick 5: Get Squeaky Clean
A nice hot shower or long dreamy bath before bed can definitely get you in the right headspace for sleep.
This is especially true if you’re brave enough to endure a bit of cold water in the end. The contrast of hot and cold will get your heart bumping and your blood moving. Added bonus: it’s also great for your sore muscles, achy joints and mental wellness!
Trick 6: Poppy Seeds
If you’re a late night snacker, try this one out. Including poppy seeds in your bed-time oatmeal, cereal or even just warm milk will help you have a sound sleep!
The seeds have a calming effect, reducing stress levels and inducing sleep. They have long been used as a remedy for insomnia.
Trick 7: Give Yourself a Massage
Or if you can, get a massage from someone else. Whether it’s a partner, or a professional.
Massage releases stress, tension, aches and pains from the body. It relaxes the body so much you’re basically guaranteed to nod off to sleep. Get yourself some nice sleepy massage oil, then it will definitely be a bed-time treat!
Trick 8: Read!
Ideally something monotonous and dare I say… boring.
I think this pretty much explains itself.
Trick 9: Night Time Meditation
Or Yoga Nidra!
Both can be found in abundance on youtube, and they are free!
Wow, even just writing this has me getting sleepy. As you can see, with every trick I’m writing less and less.
The key is to do things that release what’s inside of you. Whether that’s tension, stress, fear, excitement, profession, worry, anticipation, or inspiration. You need to get it out so that restful sleep can come in.
You can also check out YHA member Johann Calaghan’s book: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You never know… it may just change your nights 😉