If you are having a hard time falling asleep and find yourself awake for long periods at night, then it may be time to rethink your bedtime routine.
We are all guilty at times of scrolling through our newsfeeds, checking our emails – not to mention those back-to-back episodes on Netflix til the early hours! But when are brains are consumed with work, stress or life in general it makes falling to sleep a huge task.
When people say they want to get healthier, they often focus on just two things; eating better and exercising more. But prioritising quality sleep is also a vital part of any health routine. Here’s your guide to getting the best sleep you’ve ever had.
Wake up at the same time every day:
One of the most important factors in getting quality sleep is the consistency of your sleep schedule. Waking up at roughly the same time each day keeps your circadian rhythm—the body’s internal clock—in sync. This is key, because your circadian rhythm is the natural process that regulates feelings of sleepiness throughout the day. Unfortunately, that means it’s not ideal to sleep in on the weekends or stay up too late. Changing your sleep schedule just one or two days a week throws off your body’s internal clock to a similar degree that jet lag does.
Avoid caffeine after midday:
With caffeine being a stimulant, drinking coffee later in the day can generally interfere with your sleep and body clock. According to Dr Ananya Mandal, the time it takes for the average person to get rid of just half the caffeine in their system is about five to seven hours. With that said, we definitely suggest sticking to the morning cups of coffee only and avoiding caffeine after lunch.
Cool down your room:
Did you know the temperature of your room can make or break your slumber? Being too hot can cause restlessness, so if your room is cool you have a better chance of falling asleep quickly. Sleep scientists suggest the ideal room temperature for sleeping is 18.5°C (65°F), and about 65% humidity.
Switch off your gadgets:
Put down your mobile phone, tablet and laptop – even turn off the TV – at least one hour before bed and instead read a book or do some guided meditation to help you wind down properly. The blue light emitted by these gadgets restrain the production of melatonin, the chemical which makes you sleepy, not only making it more difficult for you to get to sleep, but making your quality of sleep worse.
Take a bath:
A bath before bedtime has been shown to increase sleep quality. According to Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire, “lying in a warm bath artificially raises your body temperature, but when you climb out of the bath this temperature abruptly drops and sends a signal to your body that you are ready for sleep”. There’s never been a better excuse for a wind-down in the tub.
Write down your worries:
The moment you get into bed is often rife with worries and thoughts as your brain starts to make connections you didn’t have time to process throughout the bustle of the day. Of course stress and worries at night means sleep disturbances as cortisol, an adrenal hormone is raised during times of stress. Rather than having your mind whizzing at 100 miles an hour before bed, it’s a good idea to write down any worries and anxious thoughts in a notebook before bed. Getting it off your mind and onto paper gives your brain an outlet, allowing your brain to wind down so you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Embrace the darkness:
Light can delay the production of melatonin which is naturally produced as the day becomes darker, making it important to make your bedroom as dark as possible. To help block out the light and put you in the right mindset for sleep it’s worth investing in some blackout blinds or buying yourself an eye mask.