Tips on how to sleep through the night
We’ve all fallen victim to those nights where your mind is racing, your body is tossing and turning, and you just want your head to hit the pillow and fall into a nice deep sleep. With the right approach, you can introduce a few tips into your daily routine which will ensure you’re getting healthy sleep and help you learn how to sleep better.
Whilst your sleep environment in the evening is important to achieving a good night’s sleep, your habits and behaviours in the day are also contributing factors and have major impact on your sleep cycle. If you have trouble sleeping, or just want to improve your overall quality of sleep you can start to work on this by introducing a consistent sleeping schedule for weekdays, weekends and even holidays. You can also take certain steps to make sure your bedroom environment is perfect for sleeping. Read more tips by Sleep Education here.
We’ve outlined more of our top tips to fall asleep below:
The Sleep Foundation suggests relaxation techniques such as breathing and visualisation exercises, will activate the natural process of the relaxation response. We can calm the mind, relax the body, and help ourselves drift off to sleep naturally. If you find yourself lying awake in bed, taking 10 deep breaths is the best way to engage your body’s natural relaxation response and create a sense of calm in your sleep environment. You can also try visualisation exercises which rely on using mental images to create a sense of calm in the body. Start by taking some deep breaths and allow your mind to wander to a peaceful outdoor scene. Think about hazy purple lavender fields, calming waterfalls or a tropical rainforest. Read more about relaxation exercises to improve sleep quality here.
Avoid blue light
Make sure you put down your electronics enough time before bed, so you can relax. The reason you may be feeling less drowsy at night and sometimes find it harder to fall asleep is because televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming systems all emit blue light which boost alertness and mental sharpness. This is great in the morning, when you wake up and get a boost of energy from the bright morning skies which also emit natural blue light, however too much of it in the evening may keep you awake when your body is supposed to be winding down. Our eyes aren’t the best at blocking out blue light, so it translates directly to the back of your retina and your brain then translates the light into images. Try to avoid using your electronic devices between 30 minutes and one hour before bed.
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet will help your sleep pattern. More specifically, moderate to vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and in turn decreasing the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night. Aerobic exercises have shown to be the best at improving blood pressure and therefore overall health and sleep hygiene. Any physical activity can also help alleviate daytime sleepiness and therefore contributes to a better night’s sleep all round.
Find the ideal temperature for sleeping
One of the best sleep tips is to make sure your bedroom is at a cool temperature, so you’re not tossing and turning or trying to find the cold side of the pillow. Because our bodies rely on a drop in temperature to fall asleep, the warmer our bedroom is will impact us trying to get to sleep. It’s said that the ideal temperature for being able to drift off peacefully is around 18 degrees, according to the Sleep Foundation our bodies are programmed to experience a slight dip in core temperature in the evening, so turning your heating down can help regulate your body temperature.
Stop daytime sleep
Sometimes, we can end up in a repetitive cycle of stealing 20- or 30-minute naps throughout the day if we’re not getting enough sleep in the evenings, this will in turn effect your overall sleep cycle and compromise your ability to fall asleep at night. Very well health advises that prolonged naps of around 45 minutes that occur close to your intended bedtime can sometimes result in insomnia due to diminished sleep drive. By staying awake for a longer period, the desire for sleep builds with increasing adenosine levels, however if you sleep in the day your brain will reduce this and as a result you will struggle to sleep at night.
Decrease caffeine intake
It is widely known that caffeine promotes alertness and stimulates the brain. Once you’ve had that cup of coffee or fizzy drink, the effects will take place very quickly. Caffeine levels can reach their peak in your bloodstream within 30 minutes. While caffeine can have positive effects towards your mood and mental performance during the day time, it goes without saying that having caffeine right before bed, or even in the early evening could be contributing towards lack of sleep or struggling to fall asleep.