Are you having problems falling asleep at bedtime? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep? Are you walking around like a sleep deprived zombie, desperate to rebuild your relationship with your bed? Then you’ve come to the right place because we’ve got some top tips to help you beat the sandman into submission.
We all go through periods when we have trouble falling asleep whether it be through stress, anxiety or changes in our body. Lack of sleep ruins our days and generally makes us feel irritable, grumpy and just plain exhausted. However, whether you’re a chronic insomniac or just struggling to get to sleep the odd day in the week, we hope that these tips will help you to get the beauty sleep you need to feel human again.
Stop Checking Your Phone Before Going to Bed
We all do it. Your phone lives either beside you or in your hand for most of the day. It’s so easy to get under the covers, open your newsfeed and just have a little scroll before hitting the hay. STOP! You’re literally sabotaging your sleep before it’s even had a chance to begin! Phones, computers and other electronics give off blue light which tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime and stops you from producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Experts advise that we should give ourselves an hour or so away from our devices before going to bed so that our brain gets in the mood for sleep.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Still getting over the Christmas period by finishing off the Baileys every night (just in case it goes bad) or having a few glasses of wine every evening as a treat for spending your life on Zoom? Although booze may help you to fall asleep quickly, it doesn’t help you to get quality sleep. It disturbs the amount of REM sleep you get and may lead to you waking up through the night, particularly if you’re dehydrated. This explains why we always feel so tired when we are hungover! Our advice? Cut down on the booze during the week when you’ve got a lot on your plate and you know that you won’t have the luxury of sleeping in the next day.
Cut Down on Eating Big, Late Dinners
I’m especially guilty of overindulging with a big, late dinner. It’s winter, it’s cold and grey, I’ve finished work late and all I want is a big old plate of carbs! Alas, going to bed with a bloated tum containing a partly digested meal is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. A heavy meal can take your body up to four hours to digest so if you eat at 8:30, your body will still be digesting if you go to bed at midnight. You toss and turn in bed trying to get comfortable and it’s even worse if you suffer from reflux or heartburn. Try eating smaller portions for dinner and throughout the day or as we are stuck in Lockdown, why not have a big lunch instead? It’ll help to improve your digestion and your sleep cycle.
Get Some Exercise
As you know, we’re not huge fans of exercise here at So Just Be but we do recognise the health benefits. As well as improving your mood, taking daily, regular exercise can help you to have an easier time getting to sleep. Getting 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can benefit you greatly – go for a walk at lunchtime or jump on your bicycle. You will find your sleep much improved as a result. Many of us have adopted sedentary lifestyles in the last 10 months and it’s not doing us much good. Also, be mindful of what time of day you exercise. If you get energised after a run, make sure you take it early in the day. If exercise calms you down and relaxes you then think about going for a stroll later in the afternoon or even early evening.
Turn Down Your Lights
Sometimes getting to sleep is all about setting the right mood. About two hours before bedtime, turn off those bright, overhead lights and get your table lights on. As with the electronic blue light from our phones, harsh, glaring lights can trick our brains into thinking that it’s still daytime. Soft, warm light helps us to relax and gets us in the mood for melatonin production!
Cut Down on Caffeine
We know there are days when the only thing that is getting you through is that hot, energising mug of coffee or tea that you habitually refill without really even thinking about it. Unfortunately, although it keeps you alert during the day, it will also keep your brain whirring into the night. Caffeine has a half life of up to 8 hours so that afternoon cuppa could be seriously hindering your bedtime. Try and keep your caffeine consumption in the AM so you can get some rest in the PM.
Get Your Temperature Just Right
Research suggests that the optimum temperature for your bedroom should be between 68 and 72 degrees. Like the three bears, you don’t want to be too hot or too cold so make sure that you’ve got a lightweight, cosy duvet and a window open if you regularly get too hot. If you suffer with the cold then an extra blanket on the bed can go a long way. Thicker pyjamas might help but could equally prove restrictive and get you tossing and turning until you’re overheated.
Check Your Pillows
One of the few things we tend to forget is to replace our pillows regularly. It’s inevitable that they will eventually become too flat or lumpy or uncomfortable for us to enjoy but we try and get the most out of them before eventually giving in and getting some in the Sales. We should be investing in our sleep, not putting it off until the last minute. If your pillows need plumping then it’s time to find some new ones. Make sure that you find the pillow that works for you – not too soft, not too hard but just right.
We hope that these tips for getting a good night’s sleep will help you on your way to dreamland. Remember, always consult your GP if you are suffering from prolonged insomnia or disturbed sleep. It’s always better to be on the safe side.
Until next time, sweet dreams.