Over the past year or two I have had a lot of trouble with sleep. Either I can't get to sleep or I have trouble staying asleep, waking up around 3am on the dot most nights. Sometimes I can get back to sleep easily, but other times that's it, I'm awake. I've recently been trying out a few things that have helped me, and I thought I would share them with you. Here are 5 ways to sleep better at night.
Unwind before bed time
It took me ages to realise that working right up until bed time wasn't the best idea. For me, working isn't always being sat at a computer typing away or checking my emails. It could be a message on Instagram from someone needing help, or seeing a Twitter DM as I'm scrolling through reading updates.
Something I have learned from therapy is to unwind before bed. I wasn't sure if I could afford therapy (see how much does therapy cost) but I am so glad we have worked it into our budget.
Good thing I also don't have a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea that prevents me from getting a good night's rest or I might need a good breathing device to promote sleep.
Learning to unwind from my phone has taken a bit of trial and error. I've tried putting my phone down at 8pm, I've tried putting my phone onto ‘do not disturb' and I've tried playing games that are repetitive and don't require much thinking. The games are working really well for me – things like Candy Crush, where the lives are limited so I have a certain time to stop playing.
Some nights I will also have a bath or exercise before bed to help me sleep better.
Put your phone into airplane mode
Putting my phone onto ‘do not disturb' didn't work for me. Maybe I don't understand how ‘do not disturb' works, but I would still get notifications about some texts and some messages. Not all of them, not every single time, but it was enough to drive me to distraction.
It meant that when I woke up at 3am, I would see notifications. They would show me the messages and I would fully wake up.
This needed to stop.
I was really nervous about putting my phone into airplane mode in case there was an emergency, and the first few nights I couldn't see any benefit to my sleep because I was so anxious. However, after a few nights, it really helped! I could still use my phone to listen to podcasts or rain sounds to fall asleep to (more on that in a moment), and as a light popping to the loo at 3am, but I wasn't being woken up by tons of notifications.
Upgrade your mattress
When we first started living together, we relied on getting items gifted from family and friends, or buying cheap second hand furniture to see us through. Over the years we have been replacing bits here and there, and we decided that it was time to replace our mattress.
Our mattress is one of those items we had been gifted when we moved in together and it had definitely seen better days!
I asked my Twitter followers who they recommend, and Mattressman was one of the recommendations made.
Mattressman then suggested that we team up together for a collaboration, and this blog post was born.
We hoped onto the Mattressman website to take a look through the king size mattress options available.
When we first started looking through the choices, it was hard to drill down what we needed. Thankfully, a lot of the mattresses have short review videos explaining the pros of each mattress, meaning we were able to make a decision quite quickly.
Many of you might not know this, but years ago Tony was cycling when he was knocked off his bike by a car. The car driver just drove away, and it has left him with some long term side effects. One of those is a twitch that comes out every so often, but the other is that he has a lot of backache. When we saw the Millionaire Backcare by Sealy on Mattressman we knew it was the one. The short video review also convinced us that it was the right choice for us.
I absolutely cannot fault the delivery of the mattress. We were given a delivery slot and the delivery men rang when they were about 30 minutes away. They were so friendly and even offered to take the mattress upstairs. Our old mattress was at the top of the stairs so we weren't able to take them up on their offer, but how good is that?
The mattress looked great once it was on the bed – much deeper than our last one.
We've had the mattress for a fortnight now, and has it actually helped me to sleep better?
You don't realise how bad your old mattress is until you get a new one, and this is the perfection combination for us. A deep mattress with the back support that Tony needs.
With our old mattress, Tony would often get back pain and find it hard to get comfortable in bed. His constant tossing and turning meant that it impacted me getting to sleep. With this mattress, he isn't wriggling around as much, and when he does, it doesn't effect my side of the mattress.
A cup of warm milk
I'm not sure if this one is an old wives tale, or an actual thing, but I am able to sleep much better if I take a cup of warm milk up to bed with me.
I don't know if it is the actual warm milk, or if it because I sit down and sip it slowly, playing games on my phone, but it seems to work really well for me.
Sleep With Me
After my mum died when I was 19, I found it impossible to sleep without the tv on. I needed something to distract my mind, but it had to be something I had seen a million times before so that I could listen but not be too engaged with it. For me it was Family Guy or Law and Order: SVU. It took me a long time to combat this habit, but last year when I found myself in CBT for anxiety, I developed the habit again. However, instead of listening to tv shows, I turned to podcasts.
I was mostly listening to true crime podcasts, which, surprisingly, aren't that great for helping you sleep when you have anxiety. However, on my favourite true crime podcast they were talking about a podcast called Sleep With Me, and I decided to give it a go.
Caveat: I do know that being able to listen to podcasts whilst Tony is in the room trying to sleep means I am extremely lucky. Although we go to bed at the same time, he is usually awake for another hour or so after me, watching YouTube or reading. He will stick his headphones in and let me listen to anything I need to listen to.
Sleep With Me is a podcast by a made up character, Scooter, who has the most boring voice ever. He will pretty much drone on, using lots of utterances and a deep voice that does, actually, put you to sleep. Each episode follows the same format, where adverts and sponsors are at the beginning, so you aren't jerked awake by a loud advert. After that, Scooter will introduce the podcast and concept to you, before launching into the story. It could be anything from tv episode recaps to him talking you through a boat ride.
I've found that the Sleep With Me Podcast works wonders for me, especially if I have insomnia or can't get back to sleep at 3am. I'm often asleep before the intro is over.
Sleep With Me can be found wherever you download your podcasts from.
You could also try these 5 things to sleep better at night.