When I first started working at Smoothfm on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show nearly two months ago, I was a teensy bit concerned about how I’d adjust to a new sleeping regime to accommodate my working hours.
In the past, I’ve always been a dedicated night owl. Whether it’s been working on my novel well into the small hours, or socialising with friends, it was a rare night when my head would hit the pillow before midnight.
Now I get up just after 4am. Yes AM. Which has meant a serious mind shift in the way I think about sleep.
I can’t afford to go to bed ‘when I feel like it’ anymore. Not that I mind, because I love my new role at Smoothfm, but sleep becomes more difficult when you know it’s something that HAS to happen or you’ll pay the price the next day.
I decided to do some research to work out the best way to get a good night’s sleep on whim without taking sleeping tablets.
The last thing I want to do is become dependent on Stillnox or Valium. I need to be sharp as a tack when I clock on – not muddling through a drug-induced haze.
Knowing that about two million Australians also face sleep issues, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. I think I’ve nailed it. And that’s because I often need afternoon naps now – especially if I’m heading out that night. Sleeping in the day in the past would have been impossible and now it’s a breeze. Here’s how:
For afternoon naps, I wear socks. It helps with the cozy factor. And if it’s a really cold evening, I might wear socks at night too.
2. LIMITED COFFEE
No coffee after 11am. Preferably only two cups max a day. Then only a cup of tea AFTER an afternoon nap if heading out that evening and in need of a boost.
Exercise is essential. If you give your body a good workout, you will naturally feel inclined to hit the sack.
4. TAKE VITAMINS
Natural sleeping vitamins, like these from Swisse, really do help! Plus they contain magnesium, which helps alleviate the risk of cramps that can occur at night if one has consumed alcohol…
5. WINE IS GOOD
I find a couple of glasses helps in the sleeping stakes. Some people say they wake up more in the night if they drink wine, so this tip may not suit everyone, but I find it helps enormously. Not EVERY night, of course… And it MUST be good quality wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine.
6. READ A GOOD BOOK
Reading is a brilliant way to get to sleep. I challenge you to go to bed, even when wide awake, and not feel sleepy in less than half an hour after reading when all snuggled up in bed. Of course, if it’s a particularly engaging book or a thriller, this might not work, so if you REALLY need to sleep, pick up something more challenging – with difficult vocabulary and philosophies – and it’ll do the trick in no time.
7. BEST SLEEP TIP EVER – SLEEP MEDITATION VIDEO
THIS is the tip I think works the BEST. It’s not particularly clever the way I found it – through a simple Google search – but no one had ever mentioned it to me before which is why I want to share this.
Keep in mind I am NOT one of those vegan, yoga, mediation types – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’m just not one of them. I’m more of a busy, easily bored, attention deficit-disorder, A-type personality, so when I first came across this, I admit, I was quite skeptical.
BUT IT WORKS! And I guess that’s also why there are more than ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND hits on the You Tube version. I also like that it’s made by a couple of blokes called ‘The Honest Guys’. So it must be honestly good, right? You can play it on your iPhone or iPad and no, you don’t have to look at the screen.
Although I admit, when I first played it, I found the moving and exploding star pattern in the unending galaxy at the beginning of the clip quite mesmerising….
Anyway, a calm male voice – almost monotone – will guide you through a few simple breathing and mind techniques to help you relax. The effect is almost hypnotic. I’m always surprised when I hear something new I haven’t heard before – meaning I’ve never heard all of it because I usually fall asleep within five to ten minutes. I find it particularly helpful for afternoon naps. The only danger is that I’m now so reliant on it, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to sleep without my iPad again?
Who cares – it works!
Happy Sleeping. I’m off for an afternoon nap now. Nightie night.