Sleep problems are incredibly common, but notoriously hard to remedy. Not getting enough sleep, or suffering from broken sleep, can severely impact your day-to-day life, leaving you restless and unable to concentrate. Sleep is essential for healing, maintaining a healthy immune system, and leaving you restored and rejuvenated.
Doctors are often reluctant to prescribe sleeping pills and do so only as a last resort. As a result, people have long been devising and sharing their best tips on getting a better night’s sleep. These pearls of wisdom range from aromatherapy to kitting out your bedroom with all the latest in sleep technology.
Here is a run-down of the best, most effective tips on getting your 8 hours shut-eye.
1. Optimize Your Bed’s Comfort
Sleeping in optimal comfort is the first and most important factor in a good night’s rest. A good quality, comfortable mattress, duvet and pillows lay the foundation for your sleep, so investing in new bedclothes is a good start when dealing with your sleep problem.
The purple mattress consists of three layers and is devised to keep you cool at night – being too hot in bed is a leading cause of disrupted sleep. Choose a mattress like this which provides both excellent comfort and allows air flow, unlike leading competitors whose mattresses are too dense and cause overheating.
2. Devise a Bedtime Routine
A tried and tested bedtime routine for winding down might look something like this:
8pm: turn off screens. Lights from our TVs and smartphones emit blue light which reduces the hormone melatonin in our brains involved in inducing slumber. Try to turn off your devices a few hours before bed to reduce risk of being affected by blue lights.
9pm: light exercise, like yoga or a short run, is a great wind-down before bed. Follow it up with some caffeine-free herbal bedtime tea for soothing and warming effects. Chamomile, lemon balm or lavender are relaxing and have known sleep benefits.
10pm: read a good book in your PJs in bed. Reading often makes you sleepy, and before long you’ll be tired enough to hit the hay.
Note: try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day – unfortunately that counts for weekends too. This sets a regimented sleep-cycle that your body will get used to and know when it’s time for bed.
3. Use Aromatherapy Oils
Just a couple of drops of some essential oil on your pillow can help create a relaxing environment to soothe you to sleep. Recommended scents that are known for their sleep-inducing qualities include lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and frankincense.
You could also drop some in a bedtime bath. Having a warm, relaxing bath before bed increases your body temperature, before rapidly cooling when you jump out. This mimics the drop in temperature that your brain causes when priming the body for sleep.
4. Install Black-Out Blinds
Even the faintest glow of light coming in through thin curtains can cause disrupted sleep. Many of us are sensitive to light and don’t realize how much the morning sunrise can affect sleep quality.
Investing in black-out curtains or blinds could have a hugely positive impact on your snooze. If this isn’t possible, try a sleep mask.
5. Quit the Caffeine
Try switching to decaf or hot chocolate as a kind of placebo. If you can’t ditch the habit all together, then only consume caffeine up until midday. If, like many people you experience an afternoon slump around 3pm, make that your last coffee.
Make 3pm the cut-off point for fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola which contain caffeine too, and definitely no energy drinks, ever!
6. Cut Out Your Night-Time Cigarette
If you’re a smoker with sleep problems and are accustomed to a wind-down cigarette before bed, you may want to think twice. Nicotine is a stimulant that could keep you awake long after you’d like to be dozing off.
If you had no idea that your night-time smoke could be contributing to your lack of sleep, cut it out for a couple of weeks to check for improvement.