Trouble getting to sleep?
Do you ever struggle to get back into a regular sleep cycle after a nice long holiday full of late nights, naps and lie-ins? … I do too!
Personally, I am one those people who needs the perfect environment to be able to doze off. So here are a few tips that might help you regain your nightly routine:
Tip #1: Hot baths an hour before bedtime.
When you have a bath/shower, the water slowly heats your body. When you get out, your body will start to cool. Your body then takes this as a sign that it is time to relax and therefore means that certain metabolic functions are slowed down, including breathing, heart rate and digestion. This then causes your body to loosen up and is more likely to help you drift into a deeper sleep and quicker than usual.
Tip #2: Brightness of screens and lighting
If you have your screen brightness on high before bed you are more likely to have trouble sleeping. This is because the light from your screen is so bright that your brain might not adjust to the darkness and may not totally register that it is night time. Therefore, when you go to sleep, you have to give your eyes and brain time to adjust. The same goes for your house lighting. You are far more likely to sleep better if your lights are dimmed before you go to bed. This will signal that it is getting darker and therefore closer to bedtime.
So next time you decided to play Candy Crush before you go to sleep, dim your phone screen!
Tip #3: Exercise
I admit, I am not a big fan of exercise, and I don’t do a lot of it. Although I do find that if I have had a busy day where I am up and about constantly, doing tasks which are physically straining, I get to sleep a lot quicker at night-time. This is because I have been using all of my energy during the day and relieving stress; when I go to bed afterwards I am tired and need to recuperate.
So get those muscles moving!
Tip #4: Avoid Caffeine & Sugar
I love coffee! I also love energy drinks. Both of which are full of sugar and caffeine and make it difficult to get to sleep if you drink them too close to your bedtime. This is because they are designed to give you an energy boost e.g. if you are tired at work or if you’re doing sports. Therefore, I would definitely advise that you avoid them in the few hours before you go to sleep.
If you really want a hot drink before bed, milky or herbal drinks are advisable. These actually help to relax your body instead of giving you energy.
Tip #5: Avoid BIG meals
Of course I don’t mean never eat big meals! Big meals are the best! But when you do plan to eat one, try and time it so your body has a few hours to digest it before you go to sleep. If you eat a large amount of food too close to your bedtime it might make you feel uncomfortable or ill and may stop you from drifting off.
So if you are going to eat before you go to sleep, limit it to a small amount!
Tip #6: Complete darkness
Some of you might not be bothered about odd bits of light during the night, but if you are like me, it needs to be pitch black! Even just tiny lights like the little red LED on the TV can affect how long it takes you to nod off. Crazy, huh? Make sure everything in you room that emits light is switched off (which will also help you save electricity) and also look into getting black out blinds. Unlike normal blinds and curtains, these completely block out the light from outside giving you ultimate darkness.
Tip #7: Stop Worrying!
Ever go to bed and can’t stop thinking about certain issues or questions that you need to know the answer to? It almost makes it impossible to get to sleep, don’t they? Invest in a notepad! Leave paper and a pen by the side of your bed so that when you’re trying to sleep and you think of something you can jot it down. This way, you won’t forget about and you won’t need to think about it all night.
Tip #8: Change those toothpaste troubles!
I’m guessing that most of you brush your teeth before you go to bed, right? And I am also guessing that a large percentage of you use peppermint toothpaste, right again? Maybe it’s time for a change! Research suggests that peppermint toothpaste actually stimulates the brain, in turn, making you feel more awake! Therefore, using other flavours of toothpaste before bed might help you sleep better.
Tip 9#: Find your optimum temperature!
Trying to get to sleep when you are too hot or too cold is extremely frustrating. Research suggests that a drop in body temperature when you go to bed induces sleep. Therefore, it is probably best for your room to be slightly cooler when you go to bed. This also ties in with the point I made earlier about having a hot bath before bed.
Tip 10# Don’t stay up too late!
I know it’s hard not to stay up too late when there are good TV programs on, games to play and people to talk to, but having more self-discipline and giving in to an early night now and then really does help. On average, adults require between 7.5 and 8 hours sleep per night. This is so that our bodies can recuperate. If you get into a routine of going to bed very late at night, when you decided you need an early night you will find it very difficult to sleep before your usual bedtime.
Don’t make a habit of late nights!
So there are ten factors that I believe effect our sleeping patterns. I hope these tips have been of some use to you!