Sleep problems are often associated with lack of energy and many illnesses ranging from your common cold and flu to more severe illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. This means that getting a good night sleep is good for both your lifestyle and more importantly your overall health. With this in mind, we have compiled a few suggestions to help you improve your sleep.
1. Relaxation and routine
Before you go to sleep it is important to make sure your body is relaxed. Listening to calming music and stretching are a couple of good ways to do this. You can also try and associate certain activities with sleep and embrace a routine. For example, if you read or take a warm bath every night before you go to bed, your body will eventually realise that you are about to go to sleep. Also, try to go to bed at the same time every night. This will help train your internal body clock and help to optimise your sleep quality.
2. Control your exposure to light
Make sure you take frequent technology breaks throughout the day so that your mind can have a rest from screens. It is even more important to do this right before you go to bed because using your phone before trying to sleep will force your brain to be alert. The light from the screen will also be a hinderance to your sleep due to the hormone Melatonin. This is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. The more light you are exposed to, the less Melatonin your body will produce. If you do not have enough Melatonin, you will find it more difficult to fall asleep.
3. Change your body temperature
Moving your body from a warm to a cool place helps to trigger a natural drop in body temperature which can help you to have a better night’s sleep. We sleep better when we are cooler, so helping your body to cool down is a good idea before you try and sleep. A warm rinse under the shower and then moving to a cooler sleep environment is an example of something that will definitely help.
4. Watch what you eat and drink
Going to bed on a very full stomach can prevent you from sleeping. Try and eat at least 2 hours before sleeping every evening in order to give your body some time to digest. It is also a good
idea to limit your caffeine and nicotine intake during the day as both of these can have long lasting negative effects on your sleep.
5. Limit daytime naps
Try to avoid napping throughout the day as this can mess up your body clock and prevent you from getting to sleep later on. If you do need to nap, you should limit yourself to 15-20 minutes a day at most, and they should occur in the early afternoon. The earlier the better so that you will still feel tired enough to fall asleep when it comes to the evening.
If you are still struggling with your sleep after trying out our tips then it may be a good idea to speak to your doctor. Half the time, worrying about not being able to sleep is the reason for not being able to fall asleep in the first place. Try to calm your mind and body and the rest will come.