A Month of Well-Being, Part 2: Tips for Better Sleep

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Part 2

I cannot deny that I have constantly struggled with insomnia since I was a child. As a consequence, my lack of sleep has affected a lot of things, including my mood, my school/work performances, my concentration level and my ability to keep up with tasks. However, I have managed several times to take control of my crazy sleep patterns and observe a more healthy sleep. It takes effort, and time, and isn't foolproof, but what alternative do you have, unless you want to live at night and sleep during the day? For this second installment of A Month of Well-Being, I have decided to share with you my tips for better sleep, in the hopes that they will help many of you.

1. Keep the TV, computer, tablet and phone out of the bedroom. I make it a rule not to bring gadgets in the bedroom; as they can make me stay up until very late, checking Facebook, talking with people halfway across the world, watching Netflix, or even writing, which is good, but still bad because I'm messing up my sleeping cycle. Even if they are turned off, the glare from the screen that lights up whenever I receive a notification can make me tempted to check what it is, especially if I'm anxious to hear about something or someone. So I've confined all gadgets to the living room, the only exceptions being when I'm sick and stuck in bed, or when I need an alarm clock, for which I use my iPhone, but on silent and with the screen turned away.

2. Tidy up a little. I like to de-clutter the living room by putting things back in their place; then definitely straighten up the kitchen (basically, I load and turn on the dishwasher, take the trash to the chute at the end of the hallway, and wipe all surfaces.)

3. Bathe. The benefits of bathing, which I explained in last week's installment along with bathing tips, are endless and even more so important as a prelude to a peaceful night of sleep.

4. Observe a night-time beauty ritual. Not only because it is important to cleanse and moisturize and treat your skin each night, but because with time you'll come to associate smells and motions (like my Ponds Cold Cream, for which I've already professed my undying love countless times, and my toothpaste and mouthwash) with a night of relaxing sleep.

5. Read. A new novel, or an old favourite. As you go through a few pages, you'll be slowly transported into a sleepy torpor while you focus on the words and the plot instead of tossing and turning and thinking about stressful things that will keep you up all night.

6. Indulge in a cup of herbal tea. Chamomile and Roiboos help, especially blends containing lavender. If needed, take melatonin; or even ask a doctor for a prescription.

7. Use relaxing scents in the bedroom: an oil diffuser with a few drops of essential oils (avoid those cheap synthetic blends that smell nothing like the real thing. A tiny bit of pure essential oils goes a long way).

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