How to get good sleep is a question I answer on a daily basis, and there are a number of variables and parts to the answer.
Relaxation plays a key part in sleep, but many of us find it difficult to relax, and in truth, the modern day definition of relaxation is a far throw from what it should be.
Rarely do we make time to truly rest, and even when we do we are preparing ourselves for the next task.
Moreover, it's easy to relax the body, sure, I mean we do that pretty much most of the time – from bed to the car to the chair at work to the car again and to the sofa to watch tv – but it's the mind we need to rest when we sleep, which is the thing insomniacs have trouble with most – switching off the computer in our heads.
Exercise is great, sure, but often doing the gym in the evening over stimulates us, which is a problem for those finishing work fairly late or only having the opportunity to exercise when the kids have gone to sleep.
And so I suggest gym in the morning, at lunchtime or late afternoon. And in the evening, try yoga or pilates, or an art like Tai Chi, both of which comprise practices aimed at relaxing the mind.
Centering Your Mind For Deeper Sleep
The aforementioned arts focus on breathing and bringing the mind to the centre of your being. Through controlled movements, stress and blocked energy are released from the muscles, and a natural calming affect is induced by the concentration on positioning and breathing, which empties the mind of nagging thoughts and emotions.
Taking up Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or a similar art that centres your energy and relaxes your mind will not only improve your sleep but also your mental and physical fitness, too. It is no coincidence that those who practice such arts are super energetic in the daytime and sleep like a baby at night time.
It is pointless trying to sleep when you feel stressed, anxious and your mind is spinning with thoughts from work. You need to bring your mind back home, to a state conducive to sleep, and therefore I recommend finding an activity you enjoy after work that helps to centre the mind and 'empty the day'.
Too many people are going to bed with the day's events still inside their mind. You can't force sleep, and the more you try the more you will prevent yourself falling asleep fast.
And once we are unable to sleep we begin tossing and turning, becoming anxious that “we won't sleep well” and “that our day will be ruined tomorrow”. Wipe the canvas clean before you go to sleep.