Tips for getting a better night’s sleep
A constant lack of sleep can take a toll on your emotional well being. The recommended amount of sleep each night is between seven and nine hours, here are a few tips to help you reach that goal and feel well rested.
Create a sleep routine
Aim to fall asleep and wake up at the same times each day if possible, the routine will help your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) which controls when you feel tires and awake. Also avoid sleeping in on certain days as this will disrupt your routine.
Going outside and exposing yourself to natural light and dark balances your circadian rhythm and helps produce the melatonin hormone which can regulate sleep patterns. Going for a regular walk or another form of daily exercise is good for forming a routine.
Avoid anxiety inducing news
News reports can be anxiety and stress inducing, although keeping up to date with current affairs is important avoid watching or reading the news a few hours before bed. The same goes for social media, the blue light from phones, TVs and laptops can affect your body clock.
Maintain a good diet and exercise routine
Regular exercise helps you sleep and can relieve stress and worry that would otherwise disrupt your sleep. However avoid working out at night where possible as this can leave you overly energised, instead try to work out in the morning or midday.
A healthy diet is also essential for good sleep, large meals and drinks late at night can cause indigestion which will affect your sleep. Make sure to drink enough water during the day and try to eat a light dinner in the evening.
Try not to nap
Although a short nap can in the early afternoon can be helpful avoid long naps or napping later in the day as this will affect your night’s sleep.
Change your alcohol and caffeine intake
Caffeine found in tea, coffee and energy drinks is a stimulant and can affect your body. If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine avoid these drinks from midday onwards to improve your sleep. Try a caffeine-free tea or plain water before bed.
Alcohol affects the quantity and quality of your sleep and can cause you to wake up in the night, try to avoid a tipple if you want a good night’s sleep.
Reduce light before sleep
Artificial light can make your body think it’s daylight which can mess up your circadian rhythm and decrease your quality of sleep. Avoid blue light such as mobile phones & TV before bed and dim the lighting in your room to help you relax.
Creating a relaxation routine is helpful in improving your sleep. This can be done in many ways such as meditation, mindfulness apps, having a bath, playing some relaxing music or reading. Try not to spend time on electronic devices before bed as this can overstimulate your brain.
Write down your thoughts
Writing down your worries before bed can stop them building up inside your head and can help you organise your thoughts. Write your thoughts in a notepad and if you still can’t sleep try something relaxing as mentioned above.
If these tips don’t work and you’re unsure of the cause of your sleepless nights it may be worth getting in touch with your GP who can help you find the cause.