Here at The Good Spa Guide, we know that a good massage does wonders for helping you relax. You might sleep like a baby after your spa trip, but how do you make sure you get a good night's sleep the rest of the time? The Sleep Council's Good Night Guide offers these handy tips...
1. Look at your bedroom. Keeping clutter out of your bedroom, and reducing the number electronic devices there, will help to calm your mind and make it easier to fall asleep. Computers and televisions can disturb you, even when they're on standby, as they may hum and have lights on. Also, while it may seem obvious, a comfortable bed is a must. Lack of support from a mattress leads to poor sleeping posture, and can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep.
2. Think about your lifestyle. Do you use your laptop or smartphone in bed? Do you finish a glass of wine right before you go to sleep? Do you feel cold in bed? There are simple ways to adjust your daily routine, to make it easier to wind down. Try retiring to your bed without any devices, with a glass of water, and a pair of snuggly socks to keep your feet warm.
3. Try to reduce stress and worry. Everyone knows that feeling stressed or anxious prevents you from getting a good night's sleep, but there isn't a magic wand that can just make stressors disappear. You can, however, try various techniques to help clear your mind and calm your heart rate. Try putting your hand on your heart, and keep as quiet as you can, so you can hear your heart beating. Breathe in for three or four seconds, then breathe out for three or four seconds. This will help slow your heart rate, and as a result calm your mind, so you can drift off.
4. Watch your diet. Eating healthily is important for all aspects of life, including sleep! While it may be obvious that it's best to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes, you should also try to avoid sedatives such as sleeping pills and alcohol, as the effects are usually short-term and sustained use can lead to dependency.
5. Do some exercise! Regular exercise boosts your circulation, helping to reduce stress and keep your body in balance. It also helps to lower body temperature, which induces better sleep. The trick is not to overdo it. Wearing yourself out physically will not necessarily induce sleepiness, instead it can be counter productive and lead to wakefulness and alertness when trying to sleep.
6. Try some relaxation techniques. Using relaxation techniques just before bed can help to make you feel sleepy. The Good Night Guide suggest trying this: - sit with your back straight - place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth (keep it there throughout the exercise) - close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four seconds - hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
7. Be aware of your hormones. Changes in your hormone levels can cause disturbances in your sleep, but this isn't always obvious. Your sleep patterns may change if you're menopausal, if you're a teenager, and your hormone levels can fluctuate if you're stressed, too. See your GP if you're having problems sleeping, as they will be able to check your hormone levels.
Remember that it's a combination of the tips above that make for a good night's sleep, not just one of them. Eat well, do regular exercise, and try to make time for yourself, without a laptop in sight! Oh, and remember to book in for your favourite massage on a regular basis -- it's not just indulgent, it's good for you!