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Now more than ever Brits are struggling to sleep during the pandemic. Insomnia already affected a third of us, and it is likely that the pandemic has caused more people to experience sleepless nights. When you feel anxious, on edge, or unsafe, it’s difficult to sleep and stay asleep all night. Express.co.uk chatted to Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, to find out how to feel more relaxed at bedtime.
The recipe for a good night’s sleep is more than just going to sleep earlier, it’s a collection of relaxing activities.
Dr Ramlakhan said: “To wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead you need to put the ground work in at bedtime.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean going to sleep earlier, but it does mean starting to wind down earlier in the evening.”
So how do you relax before hitting the hay? Here’s four ways.
READ MORE- How to sleep: Top tips for better sleep
Who doesn’t love a bath? Baths are one of the most relaxing activities, especially during winter.
Dr Ramlakhan said: “The perfect way to relax is with a hot bicarbonate of soda bath 60-90 minutes before bed.
“Add two big mugs of bicarbonate of soda to comfortably hot water and immerse yourself completely for 20 minutes.”
Apparently, the bicarbonate neutralises the skin’s acidity, softens dry skin and is a good aid in detoxification.
Dr Ramlakhan added: “Don’t use soap or shampoo as the chemicals will reduce the effect.
“Rinse off and go to bed soon afterwards. You will feel very tired, sleep well and find it much easier to get up in the morning.”
We all know to stay away from technology before bed, but other activities that distract you from trying to fall asleep will do the trick.
One option is to read a book for about 20 minutes in bed.
This will really help you to wind down and forget the stresses of the day.
Listening to relaxing music, a podcast, or a sleep story will also help.
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Essential oils are great for many things, from easing migraines to making the room smell nice.
Dr Ramlakhan said: “Essential oils such as lavender, will all help to promote a much better quality of deep sleep.
“Lavender is proven to slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality and promote relaxation.”
If you don’t like lavender, try vanilla, jasmine, geranium, ylang ylang, or cedarwood.
Yoga isn’t only for people who want to tone up and become more flexible, it will improve your sleeping pattern.
Dr Ramlakhan said: “Yoga is another wonderful tool to use before bed as it calms the nervous system, which can be a big help if you are feeling over-stimulated from the day.”
Dr Ramlakhan worked with a Premiership footballer who struggled to sleep after playing games.
She put together a five-minute routine for the footballer and it worked perfectly.
All you have to do is hold three different poses for about two to three minutes each.
If they feel really good, you can hold them for even longer.
The first pose is child’s pose, and that requires you kneel on the floor with your feet touching but knees opened as wide as your hips.
Lay your torso on the floor in between your knees, and spread your arms out in front of you.
Legs up the wall is as easy as it sounds, just lay with your bottom and back on the floor against a wall.
Corpse pose is simply laying down on the floor on your back with your legs hip-width apart and hands facing down by your sides.
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