Getting a good night’s sleep is not always easy with the hectic lifestyles we lead, and yet is so important for your physical and mental wellbeing. Here are five tips to help you sleep more easily:
Activities that help and hinder
It is generally thought that exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep. Try joining a local class or doing some exercise at home. Gentle exercise such as yoga or Pilates often includes some form of meditation or relaxation at the end which may help clear your mind of the day’s activities. Take care to exercise during the day and not too close to bedtime, otherwise it can then prevent you from sleeping.
Most of us enjoy social media as part of our day, but did you know that watching a screen before bed can have a detrimental effect on your sleep? You should stop looking at your phone or tablet at least an hour before bedtime and avoid watching television in bed too.
If you have trouble sleeping, avoid taking naps in the afternoon, as this can affect your ability to sleep well at night.
Your bedroom should be a relaxing place to sleep and should be for sleep and sex only. Make sure it is free from clutter and a calm place to be.
Aim to declutter your brain too; write down anything that you need to do or deal with before you go to bed so that it is cleared from your head and leave those thoughts in your notepad until morning.
You should aim to have a slightly cooler temperature and a comfortable mattress and pillows to sleep on.
Lighting should be kept to a minimum so that it does not keep you awake. A side light or dimmer switch is worth investing in.
Have a relaxing bath if you can, as the drop in temperature when getting into bed will aid sleep. You could try essential oils for sleep, either in the bath, in a diffuser or in a sleep spray as a pillow mist, to help you relax.
Think about the types of food and drink you are having in the evening, and ensure you leave time for them to settle before going to bed.
If you still struggle to sleep, try some soothing music or meditation (there are lots of apps these days you can try; aim to use a specific sleep-related app as this should use blue light rather than white light to avoid keeping you awake).
Give yourself time to wind down by reading a book or doing a similarly calming activity an hour before you go to sleep.
Stick to the same routine
Aim to go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, even on weekends, if possible, as this will help you regulate your body clock.
For those who work shifts, try to group your shifts together and come up with a sleep routine that works for you.