By Nelisa Khwela
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
Whilst global events are constantly threatening our mental health, trouble falling and/or staying asleep are common. These 5 tips will help you establish some habits that will allow you to fall asleep more easily and improve your quality of sleep.
- Create a comfortable environment
It’s important to create an environment in which your body will be comfortable enough to fall asleep. This includes dimming the lights (or using a bedside lamp) around bedtime. If you have to work from your bed every day, this can help your body make the distinction between work mode and bedtime. It is also very important to make sure that your room isn’t too cold or too hot when you are trying to fall asleep as this will make falling asleep take longer.
- Have a ritual to unwind before bed
Try to create a relaxing atmosphere for yourself. Use aromatherapy, such as scented candles or pillow or room mists that contain lavender (these can be found at stores such as Clicks). Listen to artificial rain or nature sounds or gentle piano instrumentals in order to relax and feel less frazzled before bed. Try to avoid watching series, scrolling through social media or any other activities that involve staring at a screen. Rather read, meditate or pray.
- Drink Chamomile tea
This naturally caffeine-free tea is a great option if you are looking to relax and reduce your anxiety at the end of a stressful day. Rooibos and chamomile blends, which are more widely available, are also a good option if you don’t enjoy the taste of pure chamomile. Try to drink your tea at least an hour before bed as part of your unwinding ritual.
- Avoid afternoon caffeine fixes
Whilst a cup of coffee can be a good kick to get the day started, having caffeine too late in the afternoon can interfere with your sleep. Coffee also causes heart palpitations and can increase your levels of anxiety. You could also try other caffeinated alternatives such as green or black tea which might make you feel less jittery throughout the day.
Exercise can help you to manage your stress and anxiety levels. Exercise also helps you burn energy which can lead to you being fatigued just before bed, thus helping you fall asleep faster. Working out consistently can help you improve the quality of your sleep over time. Doing some light yoga and meditation practices in the evening can also help you fall asleep better.