Do you want to sleep well and wake up rested? Here’s how to do that

This post is also available in: Dutch

goed-slapenDo you also love to wake up refreshed and rested? The feeling that you wake up in the morning and have had a good night’s sleep is not always given for everyone. For example, it really took me years to get a good night’s sleep.

Usually, it went reasonably well, but regularly I had periods when I did not sleep well, I simply did not wake up feeling refreshed and rested. And it was very disappointing for me. Because a single night of not waking up rested is of course not such a problem, but if it is several days in a row and a pattern arises, it is terrible for your mood. It is also very bad for your physical and mental health. The chance of gaining weight is also much higher if you sleep poorly for a while.

To be honest, I don’t have my night’s sleep under control all year round, but the following simple tips help me very well and I hope for you too:

  • It sounds dull but definitely works. Look at your natural sleep rhythm and stick to it as much as possible, preferably also during the weekend. For one person that is going to sleep at 10 p.m. and getting up again at 6 a.m., the other prefers to go to sleep at midnight and get up again at 8 a.m.

  • Avoid falling asleep at night (for example in front of the television). If you feel like you are dozing off, become active with something else and then go to bed on time.

  • At night, stop drinking coffee, black tea and other caffeinated drinks and avoid heavy dinners. Also, do not drink alcohol 1 or 2 hours before you go to sleep, or limit it to 1 glass.

  • Do not take part in heavy conversations late at night. If you have a difficult conversation late in the evening, chances are that you will lie awake at night and think about the conversation.

  • Think about the days when you do sleep well, what do you do differently? And do you sleep well on holiday? What’s different for you?

  • Stop working in the evening, and if there is no other option, stop at least two hours before going to sleep. Also avoid looking at your phone for a long time or sitting in front of the telly all evening. Blue light lowers your melatonin and keeps you awake. The use of an old-fashioned alarm clock by your bed prevents you from looking at your phone for another hour. What helps even better is simply putting your phone in another room, so you won’t be tempted to grab it when a message comes in.

  • Go outside during the day and enjoy as much daylight as possible. For example, you can go outside during your lunch break, and take a walk in the early evening, or go for a workout outside.

  • Exercise several times a week. People who exercise regularly sleep better. Preferably not exercise just before going to bed, but a few hours before.

  • When you go to sleep, make sure your bedroom is fresh and dark. And when you get out of bed at night, try to turn on only dimmed lights. And do you have a nice pillow to sleep on?

  • Visualize beautiful things. When you are in bed it is wonderful to think about that beautiful holiday you had or other nice things that happened.

  • Develop a ritual for yourself before going to sleep. It can be meditation, a warm shower, listening to beautiful music or taking care of yourself extensively with a nice mask, for example. It gives you a good feeling, and you get into bed wonderfully relaxed.

  • Breathing exercises can also help you. Lying in bed and breathing from your belly instead of from your chest helps to calm you down. Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly above your belly button and breathe in and out gently. When you do this you will feel your belly rise and fall. Inhale slowly for 3 counts. Then hold your breath and exhale slowly in 3 counts. Repeat this for about ten minutes.

  • When you are in bed, tighten and release all your muscles one by one. Start at your head and work your way down slowly until you reach your toes. Keep your muscles contracted for 5 seconds and then release them. By the time you get to your toes, you will already feel very relaxed.

    If you still can’t sleep then don’t try too hard. You better grab a book and read some more. The harder you try to sleep, the more difficult it becomes. This also applies if you wake up at night. Sometimes it can help to get out for a while, have something small to eat or drink and then go back to bed.

    It may take some time if you haven’t slept well for a while to get back to the correct sleep rhythm. Make sure you don’t panic about this but proceed calmly by following the tips above. Be patient and take it step by step and you will see it will come back on its own. The more relaxed you are with your sleep, the better it will go.



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