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May 31, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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It is notoriously hard for people to sleep well their first year out of home, and easy to think you’re suffering from insomnia (and bugging the hell out of all of your friends by constantly complaining about it). So here are a few tips to help you drift off…

Get a bedtime ritual. This isn’t as big as it sounds. It could be drinking a glass of water, brushing your teeth and going to the toilet. It could be waltzing around in your bathrobe and wearing PJs and all kinds of things you don’t intend on actually sleeping in. It could be reading five pages of your book. Mine is putting water by the bed, going to the bathroom and watching cartoons in bed. Easy. Whatever it is, make sure it isn’t too exciting and does become a routine. This means your brain drifts off instead of perking up, and the actual time that you go to bed becomes less of a big deal for your body. Keep in mind, however, that your body would really like to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

Try something warm and milky before bed. My favourite is rice pudding, but more commonly now I have a milo after dinner (much cheaper than dessert.)

Rice Pudding

1tsp butter
1C milk
1T sugar
2T rice
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Put all ingredients, in that order, into a pot on the stove on medium. Stir occasionally, until it starts to bubble, then give it one big stir and turn the heat to really low. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally, until the rice is cooked (1/2 an hour or so). If you have the time, it’s much better to double the ingredients and use the oven instead of the stove top (180o for 1 1/2 hours, stirring after the first 1/2hr and hour). Nom nom nom. Nutmeg and milk are both great at helping you drift off, especially when you’re a bit of a lactard like myself.

Remove all non-sleep associations from your bedroom. Don’t watch TV or use your computer in bed, because the screen flicker is stimulating and your brain has to process the information, keeping it more active. Reading in bed can help you drift off, but make sure it isn’t a really interesting book! Your bedroom should be slightly cool, dark and quiet. If you have noisy flatmates, or a room which is too bright, you might have to just get used to it as best you can. I used to play music a wee bit too loud, because while it was noisy, it was constant noise, instead of the sudden noises from my flatmates. You can even get white noise CDs, or just flick on the dehumidifier.

When you’re lying in bed, and still can’t get off, take long, deep breaths, and aim to relax more with each breath. Think about each body part as you relax it, starting at your toes and working up, or whatever. You’ll be amazed at how tense you were.

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