We all lead busy lives. Many of us work late and fall into bed far later than planned, with no thought for a bedtime routine. This inevitably leaves us feeling drowsy and groggy the next day. Sound like a familiar sleep/wake cycle?
To break bad habits and increase your chance of getting eight a night, try some of these slip tips:
Stay away from electronic devices
Whether it’s a mobile phone, a laptop or a TV, you should avoid exposure to ‘blue light’ about 45 minutes before you head to bed. Blue light screens suppress the production of melatonin, which is the hormone your body produces to help you get to sleep.
Exercise during the day
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel more alert during the day. Just 10 minutes of exercise a day can help you reset your sleep wake cycle. Exercising makes you tired which means you’re more likely to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep.
Listen to your body’s natural cycle
Avoid extended napping wherever possible and make every effort to head to bed at the same time every evening. The same goes for waking up, even on a weekend. If you need to recover from a late night then it’s fine to nap in the day to top up your sleep quota. Nap for around 15-30 minutes, no later than 5pm.
Wind down and relax
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night with a head full of worry, try to find ways that help you relax in the evening. It could be taking a bath, reading a book or following some simple, mindful, breathing techniques. Download your thoughts in a journal before getting into bed, leaving your mind clear and ready for sleep.
Improve your sleep environment
A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and get ready to sleep well. Make sure your room is dark and quiet; a sanctuary where you can feel safe and relaxed. And only get into bed when it’s time to go to sleep. If you can, get rid of the TV and any other distractions altogether from the bedroom and just use it as a place to relax and sleep.