Everyone wants to get a better night sleep – myself included – and there are lots of little changes we can all make to help achieve this. Today I wanted to share my top 6 tips to sleep better, and I’d love to hear yours in the comments as well!
1. Set yourself a routine
The most important change to make to get a better night sleep is to set yourself a proper routine, including setting a regular bedtime and wake-time. This allows your body to get into a rhythm and find a natural sleep-wake cycle, helping you get a better night sleep overall. Yes, this does mean that you should try and avoid staying up super late and sleeping in on weekends to avoid breaking that cycle.
If you want to shift your sleep or wake-up time then do it in small increments – 10 or 15 minutes at a time – to help give your body time to adjust its rhythm.
2. Make light your friend
Our sleep quality is heavily influenced by our body’s production of melatonin, which is controlled by light exposure. Our body can naturally manage this, however lots of elements of our lives these days can interfere with our melatonin production if we’re not careful. Medical equipments like Respironics DreamStation CPAP help significantly in increasing the quality of sleep, and must be used more frequently.
In general, we should expose ourselves to bright light in the morning (so open the curtains and let the sunshine in!) and then avoid that kind of light in the evenings. Being stuck in an office all day without access to natural daylight can make us drowsy, so try and make sure you get out into the fresh air and sunshine during the day whenever possible.
At night, avoid bright lights and use softer lightbulbs in lamps instead and assist your body in producing melatonin by cutting down on light sources like the tv and computers in the lead up to heading to bed.
3. Allow yourself to wind down
We can’t just expect to jump from doing activities and being busy to falling asleep, so we need to allow ourselves to wind down slowly before heading to bed. This should include cutting out any backlit technology like iPads as well as watching TV and using your computer, as these all stimulate our brains and impact on the melatonin production which I mentioned earlier. A good ol’ fashioned book is a much better option!
This wind down period could include a technology-free hobby like a craft, some mindfulness colouring, some gentle yoga or listen to some gentle music, or a combination of all of the above!
Try getting the loudest fans for sleeping as they are designed to block noise, thus providing their users with better sleep through the night.
4. Avoid rich food, alcohol & exercise
In the few hours before you head to bed there are a few things that it is best to avoid in order to sleep better, starting with rich food. If your body is still trying to digest your dinner, particularly if it was heavy, rich or spicy, then it can result in you struggling to fall asleep. The same goes for alcohol, which I know goes against the whole nightcap idea, but whilst it can help you fall asleep initially, it often reduces the quality of your sleep and causes you to wake up a few hours later. CBD products can help you enjoy sound sleep, so check out https://truthnaturals.co.uk for details. Lastly, you should try and avoid heavy exercise too close to bed time as it stimulates your body, waking you up more and making it harder to fall asleep.
Overall though, general exercise is most definitely a positive step towards sleeping better, and even light daily exercise is better than no exercise at all. Gentle stretching before bed is also an excellent daily addition to your exercise routine.
5. Create a pre-bed ritual
Along with winding down you could try creating a pre-bed ritual that you try and follow every night, as this send signals to your brain that it is nearly sleep time. This could include a warm bath (my oat bath bags or bath salts might help), a cup of caffeine-free tea, burn some relaxing essential oils (lavender is always an excellent choice) or some meditation. Whatever it is that works for you, just make sure it’s relaxing and something that you can do every night before bed.
6. Make your room comfortable
There are a few changes you can make to your bedroom to make it more conducive to better sleep, starting with making it as dark as possible. Choose proper block-out curtains or blinds and remove any other light sources light bright clocks, and if need be use a sleep mask. Your bedroom should also be on the cooler end of the spectrum rather than overly warm, with around the 18 degrees mark seen as ideal. Eliminate as much noise as you can as well (which is sometimes easier said than done!), and if need be try a white-noise machine or ear plugs for any noises you can’t eliminate yourself.