The benefits of a good night’s sleep are well documented. All you need is 6-8 hours of solid, good-quality sleep in order to function at our best the next day. However, for some, getting that perfect night’s sleep can be almost impossible, which is why we’ve put together our top 10 tips to get the sleep you deserve:
No Technology in the Bedroom!
As tempting as it is to sit on your phone or iPad in your bed and scroll through Facebook, you really need to stop. Anything that is considered a non-bed activity such as phone calls, texting, watching television etc. will seriously harm your night’s sleep. By training your body to only participate in bed activities while in bed you will find your body will drift off to sleep much easier. There is one exception to this rule – reading! Studies have shown that reading for at least 15 minutes in bed will relax your mind and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
No Exercise Within 3 Hours of Sleep
Exercise raises your heart rate which doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep. If you do want to exercise you should do something relaxing like yoga or Pilates. This stretching form of exercise will help calm your mind and body.
Go To Bed At a Regular Time
Your body loves to get itself into a routine, which is why going to bed at a regular time will help improve your sleep pattern. If you find yourself tired during the day avoid naps or going to bed earlier! This tiredness is most likely caused by poor quality sleep. Instead make yourself a routine where you go to bed at the same time every night. Your body will adapt and you’ll find yourself getting the sleep you need.
Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment
If your bedroom is full of neon lights and brightly coloured walls it’s little wonder that you’re not getting to sleep easily. Instead decorate your room in relaxing colours such as lilacs or creams. It’s also a good idea to start dimming the lights in your home around 2-3 hours before you plan to go to sleep. By lowering the lights your brain will start to release a hormone called melatonin that brings on sleep. Any electrical items which produce light should also be turned off and a bedroom temperature of around 16-18°C or 60-65°F will also help your sleep.
Avoid Stimulants For 2/3 Hours Before Bed
Anything that contains caffeine is a no-no before bed. That means no tea, coffee, energy drinks or sodas. These will all prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. The nicotine in cigarettes will also affect your sleep so if you do smoke try not to have one before bed if you can. You should also check any headache remedies or supplements you take for stimulants as these will often contain caffeine – weight loss supplements are particularly known for containing caffeine.
Also Avoid Stimulating Foods
Just as important as avoiding stimulating drinks is avoiding stimulating foods. We’ve all heard that eating cheese before bed will give you weird dreams; the truth is, too much food before bed is enough to ruin any sleep. In general avoiding food for about 3 hours before your bedtime is advisable.
If You Can’t Get to Sleep Then Get Back Up
If you’re struggling to find yourself nodding off after 20 minutes in bed then you should get out of bed again. Have a walk round the house and then try again. But it is very important to avoid light. Don’t get up and check your phone or computer. The white light emitted from technology will trick you brain into thinking it’s daylight and therefore stimulate your nervous system.
Relax Before Bedtime
Before bed is not the time for checking your emails or any other activity that is likely to stimulate your brain too much. Instead swap the evening news or that intense documentary for relaxing music around 90 minutes before your bedtime. A warm bath is another excellent way to relax your brain and body as are hypnosis tapes that seek to recalibrate your brain for sleep.
Stay Away From Drinks
We all know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night and needing to go to the toilet. You get up, wake yourself up and find it very hard to get back to sleep afterwards. If you find that your bladder can’t make it through the entire night then you should cut out any liquids 2 hours before you sleep.
Treat Yourself to a New Bed
Not everyone realises that if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep then your bed or mattress might be to blame. Mattresses in particular deteriorate with age becoming soft and unsupportive for your body. Old beds and mattresses also tend to hold bugs and old skin cells, which can cause allergies. By treating yourself to a new bed you’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep effortlessly.
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