The secret to a great night's sleep

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris break up! Can a good night’s sleep mend a broken heart?

Taylor

As we all wake up to the news today that Calvin Harris and pop princess Taylor Swift have called time on their 15 month romance, Silentnight's sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan offers the pair her top tips for combatting those heartbroken sleepless nights.

When nursing a broken heart, it is important to look after your health and make getting a good night's sleep your top priority. In times of break-up lack of sleep often results in new singletons feeling more down in the dumps and in serious cases it can even spark depression.

Sleeplessness in times of heartache will also enhance negative dream patterns that ultimately result creating deeper memories of sadness.

My partner broke my heart - what should I do?

Don't take emotional baggage to bed…

Before you go to bed, instead of thinking about the negatives or dwelling on a break-up, write down all the good things that have happened during the day or the good things you have to look forward to. This will change your mindset to alleviate stress and worry, leaving you more relaxed to sleep. 

Don't cry into a glass of wine before bed… 

Caffeine and alcohol are stimulants and it can take your body up to 10 hours to remove all traces of these. Alcohol is the most commonly used sleep and relaxing aid in the world as it initially has a sedative effect. However, alcohol stops you getting good, deep sleep and can increase REM (rapid eye movement) sleep so the next day you feel not only physically tired but also mentally fuzzy.

Don't get mad, get fit…  

Situations such as break-ups will affect your sleep because of the stress, however regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress hormone levels - mainly adrenaline - enabling you to sleep more deeply. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend three or four sessions of aerobic exercise (swimming, cycling, jogging, fast walking) for 20 to 30 minutes per week. Keep this up and you will drift off quicker when you get into bed at night. 

Have a duvet day…

Working or pushing yourself relentlessly throughout the day, which many of us may do as a distraction during stressful times, overstimulates your nervous system leading to that 'tired but wired' feeling when you get into bed. Take three to five minute breaks every 90 minutes throughout the day - move, close your eyes, eat something nourishing and stay away from technology. Your sleep at night will be deeper and more restful.

Get off their Facebook…

Not only will scouring social networks potentially cause you to dwell or remind you of an ex-partner causing anxiety, electronic devices overload the 'working memory' of the brain and lead to noisy thought-filled sleep. Don't use your phone, tablet or laptop for 90 minutes before you go to bed and you will sleep better. 

Reclaim 'me' time… 

Trying to stay up late to make yourself tired doesn't work, it actually does the opposite. Go to bed at a reasonable and consistent time every date and get yourself in to a regular wind down routine. You will notice a huge difference to the quality of your sleep. Read a book, listen to relaxing music, have a bath and use some relaxing essential oils such as lavender to help promote sleepiness.

Find a new happy place…

Following a break up or heartache many people will often be plagued by the anxiety and the hurt at nighttime while they lay in bed. A good technique for combatting those sleep blues is called 'A Safe Place' - where you visualise a beautiful environment (real or imaginary), and place yourself there. This is almost a meditation where you enjoy the pleasures including sounds and smells of your special place and where you invite in your favourite people and bring your favourite things into it. It's really a retreat, where you know everything is lovely and you don't need negative emotions. This helps combat the feeling of abandonment at bed time, and can help soothe the anxiety of sleeping alone if you have not done so in a long time.

 

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