We’ve all got that one mate who’s permanently exhausted. The sleep-deprived person is a common species; they can normally be found telling their friends for the thousandth time just how tired they are.
Characteristics of the docile and dreary are their thousand-yard stare and inability to breathe like a normal human being without stretching their mouth as wide as possible for a loud yawn every 27 seconds. They shuffle instead of walk and can often be found in search of coffee as if their life depends on it. Some even say they have developed a simple series of grunts to communicate.
Maybe you understand this sleep-deprived language, or recognise some of the above behaviours. You wouldn’t be alone – nearly half of all teenagers in the UK are sleep deprived.
So, how can we get a good night’s sleep? Let’s look below:
How much Sleep Should I be Getting?
If you’re reading this, then you probably need more sleep than you’re getting! It’s great to start by knowing the amount of sleep you should aim for each night. Did you know the amount you need changes based on your age? The National Sleep Foundation says the amount of sleep for age ranges are:
The key thing here is that these are ballpark numbers. There is no perfect ‘right’ amount of sleep to get, just the right ranges.
Associate Your Bed with Sleep
Sometimes we go to bed and we’re not that tired. So what do we do? We open our phone, tablet and/or laptop and go online. Let’s admit it. We’ve all been there. We end up mindlessly scrolling for longer than we’d like with our tired faces lit up by the glow of our phones. We can’t recommend this pearl of sleepy wisdom enough – associate your bed with sleeping.
Breaking the No-Phone Zone Rule
You’re not alone if you can’t keep away from your phone. If you need your phone by your bedside then we recommend listening to podcasts to help you drift off to a great night’s kip. Podcasts are some great late-night entertainment which allows your mind to run free without looking at your phone. We recommend podcasts like ‘Sleepy’ or ‘Welcome to the Night Vale’.
Wind Up – Be Active
That’s right. Being active makes you more inactive at bedtime! It’s ironic that being exhausted all the time is sometimes because we’re not active enough. Did you know that if you run or walk for at least 30 minutes then you’ll nod off much easier and feel great in the morning! A brilliant benefit is that exercise only gets easier as you get into it, plus it releases endorphins in your brain – they’re a hormone which makes people feel happy, so that’s got be a good thing.
Wind Down – Mind Meditation
When people say ‘meditation’, you may think your mind needs to be completely blank. A lot of people think they suck at meditating because they can’t switch their brain off. Don’t worry! Meditation is much easier than you think. It’s fine to keep your mind active whilst meditating; the simple trick is to control your thoughts on your body.
One good example is focussing on your breathing. A great breathing method to help shut your mind off for sleep is called the ‘4, 7, 8’ rule. Simply breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven and breathe out as if blowing through a straw for eight seconds. Repeat this a few times – your blood pressure drops, your nervous system relaxes and your mind winds down for a great night’s sleep!
Another simple meditation technique is called progressive relaxation. When we think too much about trying to get asleep we often end up annoyed at still being awake at 2.00am. When frustrated we tense up without even realising; progressive relaxation is an effective method to gently relax our muscles for rest. There are no time rules for this, simply lay down and focus on your feet. Are they tense? If so, focus on relaxing them. Are they relaxed now? Great. Move on to your legs and repeat the process. Slowly move up your entire body and face until you completely unwind for a calm night’s sleep.
We hope you find our top tips useful for creating your very own sleep routine. Remember to wind down before bed and only go to bed when tired – sleep is just as much about quality as quantity. Sleep tight!
Enjoyed this blog?
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