I’ve often had trouble getting sleep. Sometimes it’s because I’ve been working to hard and it’s hard to wind down, sometimes it’s because of stress that I need to get out of my body, sometimes it’s because of noise in the neighbourhood, sometimes it’s because of hot weather or hayfever. However, I’ve recently found something that seems to help.
Last Sunday afternoon, after a few nights not not much sleep, I was watching Ask the Doctor on the ABC. The episode was about sleep and why people have difficulty sleeping. If you’re in Australia (or using a VPN) you should be able to watch it here while the episode is available.
One of the suggestions that I found really interesting was having a wind-down routine before going to bed. They suggested turning off screens at a set time, having a snack (eg. milk and a biscuit), a shower (I normally shower in the morning and not the evening), and reading something that isn’t work or study related.
So I tried doing something like that last Sunday. At 9pm I started getting ready for bed. Most of the stuff I’m interested in reading is on my tablet, so rather than turning it off I put it on night shift (which gives the screen a dull, brownish shade instead of the normally bluish glow). I had some milk and crackers, had a shower and then got in bed to read. I pretty quickly found I was falling asleep. Each night in the last week that I’ve been able to follow that routine I’ve had a great sleep. Even if I have a couple of nights where I don’t get a good sleep, that’s entirely manageable when it’s compared to a week of poor sleep.
Another thing I’ve been trying is sleeping on my side. I haven’t slept on my side since a few years ago when I was very sick and was diagnosed with an arthritic condition. At that time I found that if I slept on my side it was really bad for my joins, so I started sleeping on my back most of the time. However, sleeping on my back was probably making me snore more.
This week I have found that sleeping on my side still causes some pain, and I often wake up for a bit in the middle of the night. However, if I have gone to bed early enough I can manage waking up in the middle of the night, getting up for a little while to rest my joints, and then going back to sleep again. Because I’ve gone to bed early enough, I’ll still get enough sleep.
I’m not saying that this kind of routine would work for everyone, but I’ve found this works for me. I’m interested in hearing what others have found helpful?