10 tips to wind down and drift off into a better night’s sleep…
Struggling to get quality zzzzz? It can be difficult to switch off a busy brain, especially if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, and this can lead to restless nights and groggy mornings. Try these top 10 tips to help you get a more restful, healthy sleep:
1. SCREEN-FREE EVENING
Turn off your phone, tablet or any screens a couple of hours before bedtime. Our screens emit blue light and ‘trick’ our brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Swap the screen for a book to let your brain know that it’s time to wind down.
2. GIVE ME SUNSHINE
Try to get plenty of natural daylight throughout the day to keep your circadian rhythm in tip-top condition. What is a ‘circadian rhythm’? Well, it’s basically your inner clock that works over 24 hours, in rhythm with the time it takes for the sun to rise and fall across a whole day. If the weather is rubbish or you’re stuck indoors working, an artificial bright lamp can help you get the exposure you need.
3. SAY NO TO NAPS
When you’ve had a rough night and barely slept, it can be tempting to try and grab a quick nap. For some people, a nap can confuse their inner body clock, making it more difficult to sleep at night. If this sounds like you, skip the nap and take yourself off to bed a little earlier instead.
4. GET REGULAR
Try to adopt a regular bedtime and morning routine. Aim to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning to ‘train’ your body clock. After a few weeks, you may even find yourself waking naturally without the aid of an alarm clock!
5. AVOID ALCOHOL
Booze is not a good bedfellow for those who have difficulty sleeping. You may think a glass of wine can help you to drift off, but alcohol affects the quality of sleep you’re getting.
6. SNOOZE ZONE
Create a comfortable and inviting environment in your bedroom to encourage sleep. Draw the curtains, set the lighting low and play calming music in the background to create a welcoming, relaxing space. Try to keep your bedroom around 20°C, which is thought to be the best temperature for sleep. Get more tips for creating the perfect snooze zone here.
7. AVOID EATING TOO LATE
Eating too late at night can harm your sleep. Try eating earlier in the evening to give your body time to digest and settle. It can also help to avoid spicy or acidic foods as these can trigger heartburn and make it more difficult to get to sleep.
8. RELAX YOUR MIND
Find a relaxation technique that works for you to help your body and mind unwind in the evening. Take a long, bubbly bath, read a book, meditate, or try focused breathing exercises.
Building exercise into your day can help you sleep better at night. Choose an exercise you enjoy (swimming, football, running, cycling or walking) and aim to get your body moving every day.
10. CAFFEINE SWAPS
Reduce your caffeine intake. Swap cappuccinos and lattes for herbal tea and decaffeinated coffee and ditch caffeinated fizzy drinks such as Coke and Pepsi for their caffeine-free alternatives. Simple swaps like these can make a world of difference to your sleeping pattern!
For more help and advice on getting a better night’s sleep, click here.