As you may know sleep is one of the vital needs our brain requires to feel refreshed, relaxed and to function properly. Lack of good sleep can cause some significant issues. Not only do we get irritable or moody but we also cannot concentrate on tasks and this makes daily life very difficult.

Your environment is essential when sleeping

It is vital to create the right environment to sleep, your sleep space should be designated to just that…sleeping. Many people like to eat, watch TV or work in their bedroom and this should be avoided if it is possible. Now, if that is not possible and you have to spend more time in your bedroom, creating a designated area for work, food etc. can help you later when you come to that much needed rest.

Creating a restful environment is not only good to sleep but this also allows your mind body and soul the calm it deserves. Having many things laying around and out of place can cause a distraction – piles of unfinished work or assignments on your desk staring at you while you are in your bed, about to sleep, is not ideal! Put things away! So, if you do work or study in your room, make sure to neatly tidy them away or put them in a drawer before attempting to sleep. This will eliminate you looking at the piles of work on your desk and thinking of all the work that has not yet been completed, creating a struggle to find a relaxed state before bed.

Your bed should be a place of comfort and relaxation therefore, it is important that it is cool dark and quiet, using darker blinds or black out curtains that during the day allow light to enter but when it is time to catch up on that much needed rest you have some darkness. Now if you have an issue with distracting noises that keep you up at night eliminating these or adding something soothing can help such as, using earplugs, a fan, or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

It is essential that you do calming activities before bedtime. Taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep. Scrolling through your phone before bed should be avoided as exposure to the blue lights make our brains stay awake thus, it becomes more challenging to sleep.

Another important part in promoting better sleep it to pay attention to what you eat and drink. You know that people say we need to do everting in balance well, the same applies here. Going to bed hungry is not ideal nor is going to bed stuffed on a heavy meal you ate just before bedtime as this discomfort might keep you up. So, it is important to have your last snack/ meal a couple of hours before bed as this will give your body the time to digest. This is also true for nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol – these all deserve caution, as the stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take several hours to wear off and this can cause huge impact on your quality sleep. Even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night and you will not be rested let us not forget how you will feel when you wake up in the morning, with that banging head.

Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.