TECHNIQUES TO GO TO SLEEP Sleep is important. We all know that or at least we should all know that. But sometimes we wish it wasn’t such a bother. Out clubbing until 2am and back up at 7am for lectures isn’t helpful, but it happens from time to time . . . . Okay regularly . . . fine daily. Here are seven tips to help you sleep.   

1. Get your self up!
Seriously. After 20 minutes of tossing, turning and moaning, just get back out of bed and do something calm, for example,  reading (without lots of mental and physical strain, so no astrophysics). Try to keep the light low by using a bedside or desk light, rather than the main room light, save your eyes strain and also this way you save on energy as well. After a little while, you will hopefully feel yourself getting a bit more tired and drowsy (find a boring book, like history (sorry history fans). When you feel like you can’t achieve much more, get back to the comfy bed and you should fall asleep.

2. Let go of your worries
The act of switching off is all part of getting to sleep. If you have a major concern on your mind, see the picture of that concern in your head and try to push it away in your head, so it becomes only a very small picture, far away from the front of your thoughts. Let it move away as far as it will go, until it’s just a speck. Does that feel a bit better? An active mind will stop you from sleeping so being calm relaxed and clear minded will help you.     

3. Bright ideas in the darkness
  Sometimes you’re laying there and a great idea pops into your head or something you’ve forgotten to do. Instead of continuously thinking it round for ages, write the idea or thing you need to remember on handy post-it notes.  

4. Breathe easy
Basic relaxation techniques are a good way to speed up the processes involved in nodding off. Lay as comfortably as possible. Close your eyes and focus on as little as you possibly can, block out all noise. If you’re still focusing on stuff, use the tip above and write it down. Now, take a deep breath, give it 3 seconds and breath out. Take another deep breath, holding it once again briefly and then breathing back out. Keep breathing in and out slowly and deeply and eventually your body will calm and you’ll drift off to sleep.  

5. Don’t work up to the last minute
The more mentally stimulation things you do before bed, the less likely you’re going to drop off. To sleep quickly: Give yourself a few moments peace just before shutdown; watch some nice TV on low volume. Some people like to do nothing, while others like to read an easy-going book Spend 10-20 minutes on whatever helps calm you down toward a more fulfilling sleep. It doesn’t matter what it is, just find your personal calming strategy and use it. Strangely, when I needed to calm down at night, I’d watch some scrubs on E4 (don’t worry I’m not promoting the programme even though it is the best thing since sliced bread).

6. Dispel the lights and the time
a. You turn the light off in your room, it might not seem to be affecting you, but it does. You're mind is constantly taking information in. b. Most of us have a clock next to the bed, on our wall or within arms reach. That’s fine we do like to see the time and realise how late we are or how long we’ve taken to do something, but don’t keep looking at the time every couple of minutes wont help you sleep, neither will, wondering how long it will take for you to fall asleep. If you keep doing that, your mind won’t let you switch off and you’ll become more anxious and awake with each look. Forget the clock. It’s your enemy at night, fight the power.

7. Listen to your body
Some people need 8 hours sleep. Others need just 5 (one of the most famous people to claim this being Margaret Thatcher, I prefer just 5 hours but I haven’t been historically quoted for it). However, there’s a lot more to this sleeping business than working out a number of hours you body and mind need. Your body is a great communicator if you’re willing to listen to it. Try to tune in to what your body wants you to do. If you begin to feel tired, take steps to wind your body down and get ready for bed. If you’re wide awake and full of energy, it’s no use going to bed just because you think it’s the right time. I know some of you won’t like that tip, because I’ve seen tens, if not hundreds, of students fighting their body’s urge to sleep.  

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