I bet you think you’ve got ‘sleeping for dummies’ all covered right? Na’ah. There are so many simples lifestyles changes that can be made to guarantee yourself the actual best night’s sleep - every night.
1. Regulate those sleep hours
Try getting into bed and asleep at roughly the same time every day, as this will programme your body to sleep better. It’s not about how many hours you log in, most adults don’t need more than 7-8 hours of sleep, but it’s the quality of sleep that is important. There’s no point trying to get these hours in, if the quality is no good, as you’ll wake up feeling like you’ve only had 4 hours of sleep. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.
2. Create your personal sleep haven
Create a room that is ideal for sleeping - for you. This usually means warm room temperature, dark and quiet as exposure to light and noise might make it hard to fall asleep. Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep, so avoid chilling in bed when you don’t need to to create a divide between being awake and being asleep. Avoid prolonged use of screens just before bedtime.
3. Make your mattress your best friend
Not having the right mattress is one of the main reasons why you may wake up grumpy and moody. Uncomfortable positioning or strain on the body due to a mattress which is too firm or too soft can leave you very unrested or can lead up to major build up of pain. Make sure your mattress is not: too firm, too soft, too old or too small. Find the right mattress for on Sleep Doctor.
Oats are also high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium. These antioxidants may benefit heart health and decrease blood pressure. A low GI (glycemic index) means a person’s blood sugar will not increase as much, steel-cut oats are a better option for this as they contain a lower GI.
To boost protein in your oatmeal breakfast, prepare it with milk instead of just water, or serve with something on the side.
4. Exercise regularly
Light exercise such as swimming or walking can relieve some tension built up throughout the day and can help you fall asleep almost in half the time as you usually would without any. But make sure your not doing a hardcore workout too close before bedtime as it may cause sleep problems. This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
5. Cut down on caffeine
Cut down on coffee, tea, energy drinks or fizzy drinks, especially in the evening and up to six hours before bed as it can significantly worsen sleep quality. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep and stimulates your nervous system, and also prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea.
6. Do not over indulge
Don’t go too bed too hungry or too stuffed, and avoid having heavy meals too close before bedtime, you could snack a little before bed time instead. Alcohol may also play a part in not letting you sleep comfortably, it may initially help you fall asleep almost instantly, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night especially for the deeper stages of sleep.
7. Try to relax before and unwind before going to bed
Maybe it’s time to create yourself a sleep routine, half an hour or an hour before bed to get yourself ready and relaxed. Relaxation techniques before bed have shown to improve sleep quality; maybe having a warm bath before bed, listening to quiet music, reading a book, meditating or visualisation to relax your mind and body.
8. Write away your worries
If you’re worried about the million things you have to do the following day, it’s better to jot them down and get yourself organised rather than stressing and letting morning and tired you deal with it. Start with the basics such as organising what you have to do, prioritising and delegating tasks: this will allow you to relax and fall asleep.
9. If you cannot sleep, get up and move away from your bed
If your tossing and turning in bed and trying to count sheep to fall asleep, then don’t just lay there and wait for it to come. If you don’t fall asleep with 20 minutes or so, leave your bedroom and do something else relaxing. Maybe put on some relaxing music, or get up and take a walk around your place, then go back to bed when your tired.