7 Great tips to aid better sleep
Not everyone needs eight hours but if you have been feeling low recently, or simply worn out, the solution could be better sleep.
Some of these tips are just reiterating what you already know but they are undoubtedly important.
I speak from experience. I’ve made a few changes lately and am having fantastic sleep.
Mentally and physically I feel much more able to take on the challenges of the day.
Just consider all the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, from pressure at work and family responsibilities, to unexpected challenges such as: poor diet, lack of exercise, relationship issues and illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.
Obviously some of these factors are beyond your control but there are precautionary measures and good habits we can set in place:
No. 1: Have a Sleep Schedule and Stick To It
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Ideally this should even be done on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. However, if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. We all know that it’s tougher to nod off when you’re trying to force yourself!
No. 2: Food and Drink
Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Both will keep you awake. Minimise how much you drink before bed or you may find yourself stumbling towards the loo in the middle of the night, determined not to put the light on and bashing elbows and toes along the way!
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. They are all stimulants, which can take hours to wear off. Initially alcohol can make you sleepy. Trust me, it rarely lasts and often leads to disruptive sleep.
No. 3: Be Ritualistic
Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. Relaxing activities such as taking a bath, reading or listening to chilled music are all help; more so if undertaken in a dimly lit room if possible. I find meditation before bedtime and regular yoga classes do wonders for switching off the mind!
Avoid using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep. They also over stimulate the brain
No. 4: Get Comfy!
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, and for me, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using black out blinds, eyeshades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create the right environment for you.
Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, kick them out occasionally — or insist on separate sleeping quarters from the off.
Snoring partners are also a huge reason for disruptive sleep, I used to hold me ex boyfriends nostrils which always worked to disrupt the sound of a rhino echoing the bedroom but obviously I’m not recommending this! Lol
No. 5: Limit Those Cheeky “Nana Naps”
Long daytime naps can interfere with night time sleep — especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you really need a quick snooze in the day don’t take more than 30 minutes and try to make it during the mid afternoon.
If you work nights, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. Make sure your room is dark to ensure the interruption to your body clock is minimal.
No. 6: Let’s Get Physical
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. You tend to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply. However, exercising too close to bedtime may leave you too energized to sleep, so be aware. I find exercising in the morning suits me. Not only can you go home after and polish your halo but quote often by the time it gets to 4pm we have talked ourselves out of going to the gym.
No. 7: Stressed Out?
Often the inability to drop off is due to the brain going into overdrive. Unfinished tasks and other personal issues can contribute. To help restore a more peaceful state of mind, consider healthy and practical ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organised, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one and ensure you have a really good laugh whenever you can, if it’s appropriate! . Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow. Consider it a kind of mental Feng-Shui.
Obviously there will be people out there that need the more professional help of their GP but for the majority of us a few minor changes can make a world of difference.
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