So an admission... I came home last night night after a lovely evening, had a relaxing bath, and then watched TV in bed (The Voice if you must know) until the early hours of the morning. I woke up this morning feeling disorientated and guilty. On the one hand, I don't have any particularly destructive vices - I don't drink too much, I'm not addicted to computer games (except for a 3-week obsession with Candy Crush) and I eat pretty healthily. But I do spend too much time messing about on the laptop before bed. But enough is enough! I am making a new resolution and I would love to have fellow sufferers club together to support a healthier habit.
Messing about on the laptop or mobile phone before bed is bad not just because it means I go to bed late. The light emitted from computer screens mimics day-light and therefore disrupts sleep patterns and makes it both harder to get to sleep and damages the quality of sleep. I find that when I read a book I tend to naturally start to feel sleepy after a while, but I can carry on messing about on the laptop indefinitely.
So how am I going to change my habit? The advice is to first acknowledge the bad habit (see above), then to commit in writing to change it (i.e. what I'm doing right now) and finally to find a way to switch, making it as easy as possible for yourself. So to switch I am going to give myself some really fun, light and enjoyable books to read instead (suggestions?). I will make a blanket (boom boom) ban on bringing the laptop into the bedroom and I will use my alarm clock rather than my phone to wake me.
These are obvious in some ways, but making your bedroom into a haven for sleep is an easy and important way of improving your quality of life which very few of us actually do. Sleep is one of the most important things we need to be happy, yet it's hard to prioritise. So it's worth spending a moment to think about whether there is anything you could do to improve the quality of your sleep. I suspect using an alarm clock rather than a smart phone is a big one for many of us. Others possibilities include cutting down on caffeine and alcohol before bed, making sure your day includes some exercise, investing in a black-out shade, burning lavender oil, and/or meditating before bed (which I find makes a huge difference).
One other trick I've used when I'm really stressed or worried about something and I can't sleep is to play Roald Dahl children's stories very quietly, so that I can listen to them while I drift in and out of sleep. That gives my mind a relaxing focus to stop it whirring away on whatever is bothering me.
Finally, a further key to creating healthy habits is committing - so I will let you know how it goes with the laptop thing and please commit away and let me know how you plan to improve your sleep!