We’ve all been there. Getting up after a bad night’s sleep is the worst feeling. The day ahead seems to stretch out endlessly ahead of you and all you can think about is getting back under the duvet.
But you can beat it. And often it’s quite simple. Make sure you run through our checklist before you hit the hay and you’ll be on the path to great sleep in no time.
Make sure you time it right
Going to bed at the same time each night tells your body clock and brain when to expect to sleep. Sticking to a routine will help you fall asleep quicker as well as contributing towards better sleep. Naps in the day can be oh so tempting, but they won’t help in the long run.
Create the right bedroom environment
The conditions of your room can impact the quality of your sleep. Temperature plays a big part – anything too hot or too cold will be an issue. The same goes for too much light creeping in.
- Try to get your room to an optimal temperature of between 12 and 21°C
- It’s worth investing in some blackout blinds or curtains
- Make sure you have a comfy mattress, designed to aid sleep
- Don’t turn on any bright lights if you do need to get up in the night – stick to side lamps.
Eat right and not too late
Steer clear of bigger meals a couple of hours before you go to bed. Your diet can play a big part in the quality of your sleep, so it’s important you know exactly what you should avoid or make a bed-time essential.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, four to six hours before bed – this also includes fizzy drinks & tea
- Too many white carbs and even dark chocolate will have you counting sheep as a last resort
- Stick to certain nuts, warm milk, fruit and green veg.
Keep away from alcohol and nicotine
It’s a common misconception to think alcohol will make you feel drowsy and aid sleep. It actually has the opposite effect, waking you up once it’s metabolised and causing broken sleep thereafter. Nicotine is a stimulant which can keep you up – avoid cigarettes, patches and gum at least an hour before bed.
Relax your mind
- Light yoga, meditation or a warm bath will help your body and mind ready themselves for sleep
- Reading can help but it’s worthwhile avoiding doing this in bed to keep your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary
- Scrolling endlessly through your social media feed will not relax you – it’ll keep your mind occupied and even hinder the release of the essential sleep hormone, melatonin
- Also try and avoid talking about emotional issues in bed, right before you sleep
- If you’re working in the evening, give yourself at least an hour of relaxation to help your mind to come down and forget the issues of the day.
Keep your weekly activity hours up
Getting the right amount of exercise has been shown to greatly increase your chances of sleeping well – as little as half an hour of daily moderate-intensity exercise will do. But limit this to during the day and early evening – exercise too close to bed stops you unwinding and can be counterproductive.
Sleep is so important to keep your body and mind well. And you know what, it can be easy when you know how.