Sleep’s beyond amazing.
A good night’s sleep will see you spring from your bed like the winner that you are. Well rested and shining with health and vitality, you coast through the day like a pro surfer, riding the waves of success and slicing through the tube of accomplishment.
Conversely, a bad night’s sleep will cling to your groggy emerging consciousness like murky, green ooze, sticking your swollen sickly eyes together and filling your chest with dread, as you face yet another day of the thankless drudgery that has become your shit existence.
Yup, it’s safe to say that getting a quality, unbroken chunk of deep restorative sleep is pretty important. In fact, I’d say it’s the greatest luxury of all. And yet, barely anyone I know is getting enough of it.
Aside from triggering the psychedelic horror that is an aura migraine, bad sleep makes me into a grumpy, grouchy, lumbering, cumbersome animal who eats to much. Essentially a grizzly bear.
Because of my inability to function without my solid 8 of zeds, I have made going to sleep into an art form. And I would like to share my art with you.
First things first: preparation.
Now let’s get things straight. You can’t just get into bed, willy-nilly and expect to just fall asleep. Imagine sleep is your new lover. You need to seduce it, not just go barging in like a sleep deprived bull in a china shop. Show some respect!
As with most things in life, successful slumber is all in the preparation.
Let’s start with the room you’ll be sleeping in. For convenience, I’ll assume it’s a bedroom. Does it have the look and feel of a luxurious hotel room, or is it more gap-year hostel dorm? If you’re having trouble sleeping, the slightest hint of grit or moisture or excessive cold or hot or smell will be the catalyst for yet another sleepless night spent sweating, or shivering, or itching.
You want your bed to be something you can’t wait to jump into. Invest in some decent bedding, with natural fibers and fillings. When you flop onto it, you want it to make that pfffffff sound as you slowly sink into it’s fluffy depths. And keep it really clean. Sleep insists on freshly laundered linens, at least once a week.
If you share your bed with a night time body popper, may I suggest investing in two duvets.
Now we need to get you ready.
You can’t expect to be a wide awake, FIFA playing person one minute, and then miraculously transform into an asleep person. That’s just madness.
There’s loads of things you can do to not only make yourself physically tired, but also alert your consciousness to the fact that you’ll be wanting it to fuck off soon. A simple formula might look like this:
Deep bath + lavender bath stuff + chamomile tea + soft music – distractions = relaxed and ready for bed
You can even do this ritual if you’re a male human. I won’t tell anyone. Aside from chamomile, you could also try valerian tea, although it smells like a tramp’s undercrackers and makes cats go completely mental.
So, your room is all plushy, your bed is all poofy, and you’re all warm and lavender’d up to the snickydoodles. Good work. The stage is set.
Tools of the trade
This is the part where you get to use some toys. Please don’t be dirty, I don’t mean those kinds of toys, although the sedative effect of sex on the male of the species is well documented. Nope, aside from that, there are additional activities you can partake in to gently guide you to the land of nod.
You’ll have heard it before, no doubt, but reading really does help you to sleep. Thing is, it’s extremely important that you choose the right kind of book. You don’t want it to be so gripping that you find yourself playing a game of ‘just to the end of this chapter‘ until four in the morning. Nor do you want it to be so dull you find your mind wandering. A wandering mind will usually walk it’s self right into a heap of angst, and you’ll have undone all the hard work you put in with the soft furnishings and bubble bath malarkey.
Do you find that no sooner has the light gone out, then your brain transforms it’s self into a Woody Allen movie? If you find it hard to stop thinking, focussing your attention on someone’s voice or ambient background music can really help shut the fucker up.
Spotify is chockablock with sleep hypnosis albums, guided meditation, and ambient noise. Just make sure you’ve got Spotify premium or at the end of track two: ‘distant summer rain’, you might find yourself rudely awoken with an advert for Jessie J’s new offerings. I defy anyone to feel like sleeping after that.
Some other little gizmos to keep by your bed…
Type sleep into the Apple App Store and you’ll be dazzled by the array of different apps that will all claim to help you get better sleep.
I am currently experimenting with SleepBot, which supposedly monitors your sleep patterns and wakes you up at the optimum time for you to feel well rested. It has a facility to record sound as well, so you get to find out how weird you really are and whether or not your house is haunted. I’m a bit skeptical at the moment. The so called ‘smart alarm’ is rather like being woken up by an unreliable flat mate, and I don’t think it’s improved my sleep much.
An app that I would recommend however is called Head Space, which teaches you how to clear your mind in ten minute sessions. The chap who guides you through the process has a nice, unaffected English accent, it uses non-wanky terminology, and it’s free.
Pad and pencil
Keeping a notebook and pencil by your bed helps in two ways. Firstly, should you find that you can’t switch off because your bloody brain won’t stop replaying what you should have said that time when little Timmy took your troll pencil topper twenty years ago, you can simply write your thoughts down in your notepad. This also works with To Do lists.
On the flip side, if you find you’ve had a decent sleep and had a wicked dream full of opulent symbolism.. Well, you can go ahead and write that down too. In case you want to analyse it, or turn it into a weird play or something.
And lastly, your alarm
There’s no point in investing all of this time and effort into getting the best sleep ever if your alarm sounds like impending Armageddon. Try something gentle, which cheerfully ascends, to softly rouse you from your slumber.
And avoid Jessie J at all costs.
Night, night x