Having an uneasy night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted and mentally drained. 36% of Brits have trouble falling asleep at least once on a weekly basis. A lack of sleep can effect everything from mental health, capacity and mood to immunity, digestion and fertility! If you’re an insomniac, or just struggle to fall asleep sometimes, here’s what you can do to try and improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Make sure your bed is maximized for you comfort
There’s no use trying to get a good night sleep on a mattress that’s too hard for your back, or pillows that hurt your neck. They key to a good sleep is comfort. If you find you get too hot in the night, invest in a lighter duvet perhaps. There’s no harm in trialing pillows and bedding until you find a combination that works for you.
2. Watch what you eat and drink
Caffeine and alcohol are known for disrupting sleep. It is recommended that you should stop consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before you plan on going to sleep.
Low carb/high fat diets are more likely to give you a deeper and more restful sleep compared to a high carb/ low fat diet. In addition to what you eat you should also watch when you eat. It is recommended that you eat your dinner at least 4 hours before bed in order to digest in time for an undisturbed sleep.
3. Sleep in a cool, dark room
Temperatures between 15-19C are the optimum temperatures to help you drift off in to a deep sleep. Research has shown that darkness actually helps encourage the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps sleep! Black out curtains or eye masks are great solutions to keep away that pesky light.
4. Try some lavender
Lavender essential oil on your pillow or in a diffuser can help improve the quality of your sleep. A study found that sleeping in a lavender scented room can improve the quality of your sleep by 20%!
5. Soak in a relaxing bath
Baths are a great way to help relax your muscles at the end of a long day. Adding bath salts and essential oils are a brilliant way of helping you to relax that little dip deeper before you hit the hay.
6. Try herbal remedies
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries for health and healing. Besides lavender, here’s a list of other herbs that improve the quality of your sleep:
· Chamomile- often found in nighttime teas
· Valerian- you can get valerian natural tablets to aid sleep
· Passionflower- common nighttime beverage
· CBD- studies suggest that CBD (comes in oil form, gummies, tablets, food, drinks, vapes) can also improve the quality of your sleep
7. Avoid blue light
You should avoid using any electronics that give off blue light for at least an hour before bed. Blue light can stimulate your mind and seriously affect your ability to fall asleep.
8. Try to relieve anxiety
Going to bed anxious will decrease the quality of your sleep. Keep a diary to release you anxiety is a great idea. Alternatively, yoga and meditation can be a great way to release that extra stress you’ve been carrying around.
9. Have a set bed time
I know no one likes having a set bedtime, but having a set routine for your body to get used to will help you fall asleep. Your body will be expecting you to go to bed at the same time, and therefore, you will start getting tired around your set bedtime every night.
10. Avoid naps during the day
Day time napping can lead to a reduction in sleep during your bedtime. If you find that you are extremely tired in the day time, naps less than 2 hours, earlier on in the day are the most effective in avoiding
11. Make sure you’ve exercised
Exercising in the day time will increase your chances of quality sleep. During exercise, serotonin is released which decreases cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Be careful not to overdo exercise however as that can lead to a loss of sleep.
12. Try reading instead of watching TV
Reading stimulates the brain more than the TV, and therefore can make you tired! If you plan on reading before bed, try to avoid e-books as these devices tend to emit blue light!