Simple ways to improve your sleep
The quality and quantity of sleep we get each night can impact many aspects of our lives, so when you get the chance for a bit of shut eye, make sure you are making the most of it! The regimen and general lifestyle you keep around sleep is called sleep hygiene. While for some of us, falling asleep (and staying asleep) is quite easy, for a lot of people it is a hard task! Thankfully, having a good sleep is more in your control than you think. Here are some tips you can use to improve your sleep hygiene. So if you are fed up of broken sleep or perhaps you often feel tired and drowsy in the morning, fear not, we are here to help you banish all your sleep related nightmares!
Avoid anything caffeinated
It might seem obvious, but it is still something that can have a big impact on sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake for hours on end. Therefore, if you want to sleep well, you should try to avoid caffeine for up to six hours before bedtime. And caffeine isn’t just in coffee, watch out for fizzy drinks, some teas and anything containing chocolate – many of which contain more caffeine than you might realise.
If, however you cannot fall asleep and really need something to calm you before bed, then a glass of warm milk or a mug of your favourite herbal tea, like naturally caffeine-free chamomile, will do the job. Milk can aid in increasing your levels of serotonin, which will help you have a deeper and more restful sleep. Soothing and relaxing, a cup of chamomile tea is ideal in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
Avoid alcohol and nicotine
Although alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep more quickly, and sleep more deeply, it reduces REM sleep. At first, alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but throughout the night it will disrupt your sleep, resulting in daytime drowsiness and poor concentration.
Nicotine is just as bad as alcohol when trying to sleep; nicotine has a stimulating effect, so it can mask your exhaustion. If you are ever sleepy, smoking a cigarette can make you feel awake and alert, no matter the time!
Establish a soothing bedtime routine
Taking a bath, reading a book, talking with your partner, all of these are some activities that can help you relax after a long day and make you feel bed-ready. It is important to keep a bedtime routine and stick to it, as that will psychologically train your brain to recognise that it’s time for bed. After a while, you will see that it’s easy to fall asleep and stay asleep the whole night!
Try to avoid stressful or stimulating activities, for example doing (or thinking about work), as these will make you more alert and you will find it more difficult to fall asleep.
Make your bedroom an inviting place
Even if you cut back on caffeine and alcohol or don’t smoke, you can still find it hard to fall asleep. A possible reason for that is that you feel deep down that your bedroom is not a relaxing space. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary and a place you feel at peace in. If it’s cluttered, a good clear out can help a lot. Soft colours all around, a comfortable mattress and great bedding can make a big difference.
Pure silk pillowcases will not only improve your comfort levels but also help ensure that your hair and skin look rejuvenated after your sleep. Another strong contender in the comfort stakes is a pure silk duvet! Luxurious and warm, with a silk duvet you can wrap up cosy and make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud. These little hacks give a whole new meaning to the expression “beauty sleep”.
The ideal temperature to fall asleep is around 20°C. Your body heat will drop when it’s time to sleep, so this temperature will facilitate this and will not be uncomfortable. Neither too hot nor too cold is the key for an easy and relaxing sleep.
Darkness is sleep’s best friend! Your room should be as dark as possible, because when we see light, our bodies think it’s time to wake up. Being rudely awoken by the morning sun is the worst, so blackout curtains or blinds will help you sleep soundly and wake up when it’s time to do so. If that doesn’t help you, then an eye mask can work a treat! By easily blocking the light of the sun or from any electronic device you have on your bedside table, you can have more time for uninterrupted sleep and feel invigorated and relaxed afterwards.
We hope that these tips will help you sleep better and longer. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep and stop feeling exhausted the next day. That can only be done if you reduce your stress levels. We all live in a stress-filled world but that doesn’t mean that we have to carry them over to our sleeping space! Less stress and more quality time for yourself can really make a difference on your sleep hygiene!
Image credit (image four: Aly sleeps on Patra Pillowcase): Aly @allmumstalk, www.allmumstalk.com