It's not surprising that it’s tough to sleep well at the moment. Regular life and work patterns have been disrupted, we’re eating and drinking differently, spending more time on screens and missing a huge chunk of daily commuting activity.
But there's also a great opportunity for us all to do a bit of research into how we sleep. Each person's preferred sleep patterns are unique so here are a couple of ways to establish what works for you and take control of your sleep.
1. Use this time to tune into your preferred sleep routine
Select the wake up time that works best for you currently and experiment with corresponding bed time that leaves you feeling the most refreshed and energetic the following day. If you're not sure precisely how much sleep you need, begin with a bedtime 7.5 hours prior to your chosen wake time and adjust this by 5-10 minutes earlier or later across a couple of weeks until you have a routine that leaves you feeling positive, calm and focused throughout the day.
This process does require a little time and attention but what a great investment of time to establish a sleep routine that could serve you well forever! Once you've settled on the routine that works best for you aim to keep this pattern consistent across the week aiming for as little disruption as possible, even at weekends.
2. Start a sleep diary
Keep some notes during the day to assess everything you do that could either disrupt your sleep, or aid your sleep each night. On the one hand you might note down moments of stress, sweet snacks, caffeine or alcohol. On the other hand you could note down when you take breaks, practice breathing techniques, get active, stay hydrated or eat a meal or snack that keeps you calm and focussed.
Once you have your lists, make gradual small adjustments to the frequency, timing or quantity of all your daily habits in relation to improving your sleep. Think also about what daily habits you could add to your schedule and put these in a priority list. Avoid making too many changes all in one go but progressively work down the list implementing your new habits one at time across days and weeks.
And don’t worry too much about the dreams. With so much disruption in our daily lives right now, the dreams are just one way of your brain processing and making sense of everything.