Sleep is essential. It’s the downtime our bodies require to rest and recuperate, but sometimes the all-important land of slumber can be a difficult destination to reach.
There are so many elements that can impact our sleeping patterns. Stress, diet and the menopause are just some of the things that can cause insomnia.
Are you finding yourself suffering from sleepless night’s?
You could make restless nights a thing of the past with these 8 simple tips for a good 8 hours sleep…
Switch off, literally!
Ask any sleep expert and they’ll all dish out the same advice, avoid staring at your phone, TV, tablet or computer at least 1-2 hours before bedtime.
Why? These devices emit a blue light which can be particularly disruptive to your sleeping pattern, suppressing the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) in the body.
Additionally, the things we watch on a screen tend to stimulate us rather than relax us. So no action packed programmes before bed!
TIP: Try listening to a podcast or music rather than staring at a screen.
Let’s get physical.
Regular exercise not only makes you feel better, releasing those positive endorphins, but people who exercise regularly feel more energised during the day and sleep better at night.
The more energetic the exercise, the more effective the sleep benefits. However, light exercise such as walking can certainly improve your sleep quality.
TIP: The impact of exercise on your sleeping patterns can take a while to kick in, so keep at it and find an exercise habit that works for you.
The drinks to avoid...
This feels like an obvious statement, but it’s an important one so we’re including it – limit your caffeine before bed!
We don’t just mean coffee, caffeine is in tea, fizzy drinks, sodas and dark chocolate amongst other things, and can cause disruptions to your sleep up to 12 hours after consuming it.
Are you a fan of a nightcap? Alcohol may be a relaxant, but it also hinders your sleep cycle.
TIP: It’s advisable to avoid drinking too many liquids during the evening as this can lead to multiple bathroom trips throughout the night.
Food for thought.
Big meals on an evening could be hampering your efforts for a good night’s sleep. It’s certainly advisable to dodge rich, heavy foods a couple of hours before bed.
If you’re prone to stomach trouble or heartburn, cut the trigger foods (usually spicy or acidic food) out of the last meal of the day.
TIP: An excess of sugary foods and refined carbs (white bread, white rice and pasta) can also trigger restlessness, so reducing your consumption of these during the day will have a positive impact on your sleep cycle.
Stub it out!
If you’re a smoker it’s worth bearing in mind that nicotine is a stimulant. Try not to smoke before bed in order to benefit from a more restful night’s sleep.
Read yourself to sleep.
Our bodies need time to step into sleep mode. Spending the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as having a bath and reading will certainly benefit you. If you’re looking for a good book to read we have some great suggestions, with reviews left by our lovely customers – click here for Joe’s Book Club suggestions.
Do remember, if you’re using an electronic device to read, make sure there’s no back light.
TIP: Make your chosen calming activity part of your daily routine and your body and sleep pattern will be eternally grateful!
Black out… to black out!
It’s much easier to sleep when you’re in darkness. Sometimes this can be quite hard to achieve, especially during the summer months or if you work night shifts and have to sleep during the day. A simple eye mask could do the trick, but it may be that you need to invest in some heavy or black out curtains to block light coming in.
Preserve your bedroom.
Reserve your bed for sleep. Try not to get into the habit of watching TV, using your phone or even working from bed. Make sure that your brain associates getting in bed with unwinding and leaving the stresses of the day behind you.
We hope we’ve equipped you with a range of tips for a soothing night’s sleep. We wish you a pleasant journey to the land of nod!