Sleep perfect sleep 2: Bedtime routines and relaxation regimes
Sleep is a vital part of every day for everyone irrespective of age. True, we do not all require the magic eight hours, but the advent of sleep labotouiries has shown conclusively that we all need to achieve periods of deep sleep interspersed with lighter sleep in order to wake rested and ready for the day ahead. Being either physically or mentally overtired or overstressed can be a recipe for broken sleep.
From a physical viewpoint there is much you can do to assist good quality sleep. Doing the same thing, at the same time, in the same order almost every night is a great physical and mental wind down. A regular bed time routine is a must for many children during school time. Remember that bedtime routine your parents imposed when you were a child: pyjamas on at a certain time, a simple supper, tooth brushing, a bedtime story, a bedtime kiss, lights out. This invariable routine is invaluable for getting children to wind down, yet as adults we often under look or forget the value of applying something similar to ourselves.
Developing a consistent wind down regime can be really useful. For physical tiredness or aching towards the end of a long day, mentally review your day: did it involve long periods of say either sitting or standing. In either case the muscles used for the posture may be achy. Simply do the opposite for 15-20 minutes: if you sat at your desk for most of the day, get your spine and legs moving: if it is too late or too dark to go out for a walk, do some household chores that do not involve sitting. Sometimes even the physical activity of simply sorting laundry standing at the kitchen table, then moving around to put it away can produce sufficient low grade physical activity to help relax aching muscles.
A warm bath or shower, especially if combined with some manual massage of tight neck or back muscles can make a huge difference. The heat and manual loosening invigorates muscles which have been held in sustained positions throughout the day. Susatined postures lead to a build up of toxins, the by products of physical activity in the muscles. These toxins when at sufficient concentrations lead to that feeling of muscular stiffness or achiness.