We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important but with our ever-growing to-do lists mounting up during the day and the working day getting longer with more technology and devices being used, it’s becoming increasingly hard to switch our brains off at night in order to get a good night’s rest.
Good quality sleep has so many vital health benefits: –
- Boosting immunity
- Aiding in weight-loss
- Regulating our metabolism
- Boosting mental well-being
- Reducing stress levels
- Preventing diabetes
- Preventing heart disease
- Increasing brain function
- Increasing fertility and sex drive
…the list is endless.
A variety of factors can be the cause of poor sleep, however it usually just boils down to bad sleeping habits and a lack of routine.
“If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.”
Here is a list of my top 10 tried and tested methods to getting a good night’s sleep.
1. Invest in a Good Mattress and Pillow
We spend approximately one third of our lives in bed. Investing in a good quality mattress and pillow that helps support our bodies whilst we sleep is so important.
Being uncomfortable during the night can lead to us waking up multiple times without even realising it and this reduces the amount of quality sleep we are achieving.
Spend as much as your budget allows on good quality that provides the support you need and you will never regret it.
2. Exercise Earlier in the Day
Working out is a really important step in having a restful night’s sleep but the time of day you choose to work out can affect your ability to have a restful sleep that night.
Exercising increases the level of endorphins in our body and provides us with a surge of energy. This is fantastic as long as you don’t get those endorphins and energy right before you are trying to sleep.
If you are looking for a calm and relaxed workout to do later in the day, try doing some yoga. Yoga can be a fantastic workout and when practiced with a focus on your breathing, it can also be a good form of meditation. This is such a great way to unwind before you drift off to the land of nod.
“An early morning sweat session may provide the ideal blood pressure reduction, as well as maximize deep sleep, compared with midday or evening workouts.”
– Sleep foundation.org
3. Get the Right Amount of Sleep for You
It’s important to know how much sleep you need to be at your best and to adjust your bedtime accordingly. This differs for everyone.
Work out what is right for you by tracking your sleep using a Fitbit or sleep app for a week or two and working out how you are feeling when you wake up each day and then throughout the day. Take notes so you don’t have to remember. You’ll then be able to clearly see a pattern of days that you woke up feeling good and had a great day and be able to determine the right amount of sleep for you.
Once you’ve worked out how much sleep you need and how much time you need to factor into achieving this amount of sleep, you can set your bedtime accordingly. Don’t forget to allow time to get yourself ready before bed. Allowing up to one hour is advisable.
4. Have a Routine
Once you have your ideal set bedtime, make sure you try to adhere to it every day. As boring as it sounds, routines are super important when trying to tell your body it’s time to go to sleep and wake up as it regulates your inner body clock and circadian rhythm.
Studies have highlighted that irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm and levels of melatonin meaning it’s harder to fall asleep or wake up at the right times.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time to get your body used to a natural rhythm needs to be continued into the weekend wherever possible for it to be effective.
5. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine has many benefits and for some people as it can enhance concentration and focus but for anyone susceptible to stress and anxiety, it’s can be more beneficial to swap the caffeine for decaffeinated or caffeine free drinks. Don’t forget that even decaffeinated coffee still contains small doses of caffeine.
Studies show that caffeine can stay present in the bloodstream for 4-6 hours, therefore reducing or, preferably, cutting out caffeine after 3pm is advisable when trying to achieve a good nights sleep.
If you need your caffeine fix in the mornings, a healthy alternative to your usual cup of coffee is Matcha Tea which has half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and the caffeine also has a softer and more calming effect on the system.
6. Introduce a Technology Curfew
The blue light that comes from technology devices confuse your body’s circadian rhythm into thinking it’s still daytime making it harder to fall asleep.
There are apps available that help to block the blue light that is emitted from phones and tablets, (some devices even have a blue light filter now), however it’s much healthier to adopt a complete curfew and turn your devices off at least an hour before your bedtime. That way your eyes and brain can get a rest and you can start to get yourself into a more restful state.
Try to turn off devices at least an hour before bedtime.
7. Create a Calm and Relaxing Bedroom Space
It’s difficult for the majority of people to feel relaxed in a room full of clutter so it’s worth spending some time creating yourself a little haven for sleep.
Remove any unnecessary items from your bedroom and keep colours muted and natural as this helps to promote a feeling of calm.
Make sure things are put away and everything is in its place before trying to sleep and you will naturally feel more at peace.
8. Write or Update Your To-do List Before Bed
In order to switch your brain into sleep mode, you need to finish the daytime mode and for me, that includes updating or creating a to-do list for the next day.
Lists help us keep on top of everything and once something is written down, it allows our brains to stop thinking about it which is so important if we want to relax.
Take your notepad to bed with you and sit and write down anything you think of for a few minutes each night. Keeping this notepad and pen by your bed also means that if you do wake up remembering something you need to do, you can write it down and go straight back to sleep limiting the time you are awake.
9. Communicate Your Thoughts and Feelings
There is nothing worse than going to bed feeling negative emotions as these will play on your mind and torture you when you’re desperately trying to get some sleep.
Talk to your partner, pick up the phone to a friend or write in a journal. No matter how big or small the problem, if it’s on your mind, it will stop you from sleeping. Sharing or writing down our feelings and emotions allows to process them and move on. If you don’t do this before bedtime, you’ll end up lying there trying to process them in your head until you eventually fall asleep.
10. Use a Lavender Pillow Spray
Lavender essential oils are often used to induce a restful sleep as they have a calming effect on the mind and body. I spray a lovely lavender pillow spray in the room and on the pillows just before I get into bed and it definitely helps me feel calm and relaxed.
These are just some of the things I do to help me get a restful night’s sleep and I really hope they help you too!
With love, Tash ❤ x