Do you have problems getting to sleep in the evening?
All is not lost, there are some really simple changes you can make that will help you get the good night’s sleep you’ve been longing for.
There are many factors in your life which may be contributing to your poor or lack of sleep. Relationship problems, illness, work related stress, and many other things. It’s no surprise to many of us, that managing to get a good night’s sleep can seem somewhat impossible, even when we feel relaxed.
BETTER SLEEP TIPS
Here are some helpful tips in helping you get yourself some good quality sleep.
Check your routine
It’s important that you maintain a pattern and routine with the time you retire to bed, go to bed and get yourself up at a regular time every day. Even during the holidays, whether school is out, or you are on a break from work for any period.
The consistency with regulating your time associated with bed reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
The key to this routine is to not be disheartened when you lay awake or struggle to nod off.
Get yourself comfortable
You may be having difficulty in sleeping due to many bedroom factors, is your bed to hard? You pillows to soft? It’s important to be comfortable in bed, change your pillows or buy a new mattress if your current one doesn’t satisfy your comfort needs.
Loud noises could also be contributing to your waking or sleep problems, try moving your bedroom to a quieter room, or use earplugs for an undisturbed night. The recommended environment for sleep, is a quiet, dark and cool room.
You should also only associate your bedroom with sleep (and love making), do not got to bed to watch tv, use a computer/tablet or especially not eat. It’s important that your body and mind knows that when you rest in bed, you are there to sleep.
Is it hot in here or is it just me?
Body and bedroom temperature can have a profound impact on the quality of your sleep.
As you may have experienced during a hot summer night, it can be very hard to get a good sleep when it’s too warm.
Around 20°C or 70°F, seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, although it always depends on your preferences and what you’re used to.
Keep A Sleep Diary
Sometimes a record of your sleeping patterns may help you find why you are sometimes failing to get an adequate sleep.
Different things work for different people, the important thing to realise is that you have to give every tip a fair trial, at least for a week before you may notice any significant changes. See what works for you by keeping a sleep log, and a notebook on what you did and how you approached your bedtime.
A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of your nights sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, a nap will only amplify problems.
We are all tempted at the end of the day to get in to bed and start flicking through the latest social media platforms on our phones or tablets. Or put the TV on to just catch up on the latest episode of South Park.
This is a sure-fire way to spark your brain in to action. What we really need to do is associate the bedroom with sleep. Of course there might be certain activities that we can perform in the bedroom, but using technology should be kept out of the bedroom.
If you’re struggling to drop off, take yourself out of the bedroom and grab a warm glass of milk and perhaps read a book. Then when you’re feeling tired, head back to bed and get your head down. It’s no good laying in bed getting angry with yourself for not being able to drop off.
DIET AND EXERCISE
Knowing how certain foods and drinks affect the body can help keep you alert during the day and avoid the agony of sleeplessness at night.
Another simple tip is to keep an eye on your evening intake of food. A full stomach may interrupt your sleep. It’s important to allow at least 3 hours after eating before you go to bed. Also, just as important is to not go to bed on an empty stomach. A completely empty stomach may interfere with your ability to sleep, just as much as a full one.
Some foods which are recommended as a snack before bedtime are yoghurt, soya beans and peanuts, they all contain chemicals which can help the body produce serotonin in order to relax.
Sugary foods eaten about 30 minutes before bedtime can actually act as a sedative. Honey has the same sedative effect as sugar and may get you to bed just as quickly. Try adding 1 tablespoon of honey to some decaffeinated herbal tea or even to your glass of warm milk for a relaxing pre-sleep drink.
What To Drink?
As crucial as it to avoid certain foods, it’s also important to keep track of your drinks when approaching bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can keep you awake even if you drank them earlier in the daytime. The effects of caffeine can last in the body for up to 12 hours.
As an alternative to caffeinated drinks, try a glass of milk in the evening, or a chamomile tea. Drinking a warm glass of milk before bed is a historical treatment for sleeping problems. Scientists believe that, the chemicals it contains help the brain ease into sleep mode. It’s always best to try and have your last drink an hour before you go to bed.
And steer clear of the thought of an alcoholic drink, while alcohol will make you feel sleepy, it will also affect the quality of your sleep.
If you don’t spend a lot of time during the day with any form of physical exercise, this may also be contributing to the poor quality or lack of sleep. The human body uses sleep to recover and repair, while if there is nothing to recover from, your sleep cycle could suffer.
Don’t exercise right before bed, while it is recommended to exercise your body and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should be starting to unwind for bedtime about 2 hours before you intend to go. This will enable your body temperature to lower and begin to relax after the heart rate increase that will accompany your exercise.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping
Don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or get in touch with a sleep professional. They may be able to help better evaluate common patterns or issues within your sleep habits and offer you some further advice.