English Publications Welzijnsrubriek

Birds, bees and counting sheep

2022-03-04

It’s almost spring! The nights are getting shorter and the sun is getting brighter.  

Life is getting busy again. The lockdown has come to an end and the Netherlands is catching up with the activities that we have missed for the past two years. Currently I feel like I am constantly on the run. Bowling with the siteco, pubquiz, Carnaval, keeping up literature and study, my social life and sports. Oh, and making sure I sleep enough. Sleeping enough is a tough one, because it gets less of a priority when I need it the most. Last week I slept for 12 hours straight one night. I needed my sleep so much that my body shut down as soon as I saw the pillow.  

As everyone knows keeping your phone in your bedroom is bad for you, because of blue light. Drinking caffeine before bed does not improve your sleep and creating a routine is not always realistic. The routine I try to stick to as much as possible is drinking lavender tea before bed. In some way it gets my body ready to wind down and to go to bed.  

A few tips that might help you fall asleep:  

Journaling: Writing down your thoughts can help you rewind and relax before you go to sleep. If you are a little bit like me, worrying about things is something that can take a while before you can sleep. I keep my journal next to my bed and write as much as I need to relax. Sometimes it’s a few pages long, sometimes three sentences is enough. You can cross out anything you want, you can write everything you want. There is no wrong in journaling. It’s just you and your thoughts, keep that in mind and be gentle to yourself.  

Breathing exercise: I call this the 446 method and it really helps me when I do this. Breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds and slowly exhaling for six seconds. Doing this brings the focus to your breathwork. Don’t get mad at yourself if you get distracted, try to bring yourself back to your breathing. If it helps you, you can put your hands on your stomach to feel your breath.  

Clean up: Sometimes life gets busy and your bedroom gets messy. A messy room is a messy mind. I know this seems logical and that we all know this. When you can’t sleep and your room is a mess, take a minute to clean up and set a timer. By setting a timer you won’t get too distracted from the task. While cleaning up you can let your mind wander a bit and you might even get a great idea. Write that idea down! And when you feel more clear minded, go to bed.  

There are a lot of ways that can help you fall asleep faster. Everyone is different and a method that helps me will not always work for you. Be kind to yourself when you aren’t able to fall asleep, that’s probably the first step to a better night’s sleep. If my tips don’t work, you can always try counting sheep again! So: don’t do too much, give yourself a break every once in a while. Goodnight! 

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