Ten tips to get a better night’s sleep
I am sleeping so well at the moment as my husband is away from home! Does that sound awful? I do love my husband but as he has aged his snoring has got worse and I know it affects the quality of his sleep too; it’s funny how people put up with things and don’t take action even when they know they could improve the quality of their life.
I see posts on Facebook every day from people struggling to sleep so it got me thinking about what things could help people to get a better night’s sleep.
So here go, my top ten tips!
1. Take regular exercise – even a 30 minute brisk walk a day will help. Aim to take 10,000 steps a day, it’s great fun to monitor using a pedometer or Fitbit. Make sure you get some fresh air and tire yourself out. Limit day time naps, if you feel sleepy get out there for a walk!
2. Try not to watch a screen for an hour before bedtime. Our bodies aren’t used to this. A hundred years ago, nobody was gazing at screens for any amount of time during the day. The second half of the 20th century saw artificial light sources quadruple as our sleep quality dipped. The reason might be hormonal: Sitting ourselves in front of screens appears to trick the body into believing it’s still daytime, as the light impairs the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which is really important for quality sleep. One study even showed a 22 percent decrease in melatonin among people engaged with screens in the hours before bed, and the effect is especially pronounced in younger people. Moreover, it’s a matter of cognitive stimulation: flashing colours, other people’s voices, engaging storylines, breaking news, all of this and more is what you encounter with a flickering TV set—and it’s the total opposite of what you need as your day is winding down. – See more at: http://www.reverie.com/wp/blog/3-reasons-you-shouldnt-watch-tv-before-bed#sthash.VI8ADMtk.dpuf
3. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom – there is lots of scientific evidence reporting on the role of light in promoting wakefulness – I have to have my room pitch black and when I’m away I always have an eye mask with me. This signalling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night. Studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to trick the brain and promote wakefulness. This can affect adults but even more so our children so keep their devices out of bedrooms! From experience I used to catch my daughter when she was only 14 on the phone/tablet in the early hours of the morning – another good reason to take electronic devices off kids and teen s at night!
4. Make sure your bedroom is a pleasant place to be – comfortable bed, clean fresh sheets (I’d have fresh sheets everyday if someone would launder them for me and make the bed), is tidy and is the right temperature: keeping your head cool is conducive to sleep so experts suggest a temperature of 18°C.
5. Watch your bedtime snacks – It’s not just an old wives’ tale that a glass of warm milk will help you sleep better. As well as being comforting, dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce two sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain, serotonin and melatonin. If like me, you are not a fan of dairy products try coconut or almond milk. It’s also best to avoid cheese, potatoes, aubergines, tomatoes, pork and chocolate before bed as the body converts them and produces a stimulant, which is likely to give you a restless night.
6. Have a bedtime routine of a warm bath and then a cup of herbal tea, camomile, valerian and passion flower teas can all have a sedative effect: trying brewing a cup shortly before bed as a calming night time ritual.
7. Stick to a sleep schedule – go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonise over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
8. Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night as I know only too well. I try and avoid alcohol for that reason!
9. Read for half an hour – this can also improve your life! Aim for interesting self-help books rather than the latest thriller or version of Fifty Shades of Grey – these may well stimulate you even more! A relaxing book about meditation will hep you in many areas of your life and will help your eyes become tired and lead to a relaxing night’s sleep.
10. Meditation or mindfulness is a fantastic way to calm the mind and if practised regularly can help your sleep quality and your day to day life. Use free guided meditations readily available on the internet or simply relax and listen to your own breath; use a mantra or word like “Om” to help stop your conscious mind from having run away thoughts. It can take a lot of practice but it’s well worth it.
Well that’s it – my thoughts on things you can try. I do hope that one of these helps and that those of you out there with a problem get some form of relief.
Until next time,
Huge hugs and here’s to good a night’s sleep,
Jill is an Independent Consultant with Arbonne International and the views expressed are her own based on Internet research. Jill is not a scientist, nutritionist or skincare expert but is passionate about helping people understand more about how to look after their body, skin and about the ingredients in Health and Wellness products. If you would like to know more please complete the form in the side bar and I will send you regular information and blog posts.
*photo by Katarzyna Białasiewicz © 123RF.com