#23: No phones.
Do you know anyone who gets enough sleep? Probably not, because seemingly no-one does. That’s what makes the quality of sleep even more important, so we can really make the most of our (not enough) hours in bed.
Sleep is massively vital to pretty much everything about your mental and physical health, from ability to concentrate to warding off the common cold, and even your complexion.
Whether your life doesn’t allow for enough time to actually sleep or you find yourself regularly awake (counting how many hours until morning, in total disbelief that you’re STILL awake while trying not to piss off your bed companion), read these tips on how to get a better night’s sleep…
1. Get into a routine with the time you go to bed. Keeping it regular helps set your body clock into a circadian rhythmn (your sleep-wake cycle).
2. Choose a realistic and sensible time to go to sleep so you don’t stay awake for ages and stress yourself out.
3. Don’t lie in late at the weekend or if you’ve had a late night. Though this sounds a bit mad, especially if you’ve got snooze to catch up on, it will disrupt your sleep pattern big time. Catch extra sleep with a nap or by going to bed a little bit earlier the next night. This will make you less tired without making your Monday to Friday mornings more difficult. (But avoid napping if you’re having big issues falling asleep.)
4. Factor in between seven to nine hours sleep each night.
5. Don’t check your phone or emails before bed (for two hours if possible) as the glow from the screens delays the release of melatonin, making it harder for you to get to sleep. If you have to, turn down the brightness.
6. Avoid caffeine as it will keep your body alert and energised. Your morning coffee is ok but steer clear after lunch as it can affect sleep for 10-12 hours after.
7. Avoid that evening red wine (or any alchohol) as though it’ll make you snoozy, your sleep will be interrupted and you’ll wake up more in the night.
8. Exercise on the reggo — as well as feeling better in the day, you’ll sleep better. Try and fit it in before work as it’ll stimulate the body if you exercise up to three hours before bed.
9. Try and get sunlight in the day as it’ll make you feel more awake, and the more awake you feel in the day, the more tired you’ll feel at night. Bonus.
10. Avoid anything too stimulating before bed as it can backfire and make it harder to sleep. Try music or audio books instead of something like Luther – excellent but unrelaxing.
11. Make sure the room is dark – the darker, the better. Try an eyemask or blackout curtains if your room is light, and turn away anything that emits a glow – like an alarm clock.
12. Don’t drink too much of anything before bed as trips to the bathroom can interfere with sleep. If you do have to get up, keep the light down low.
13. Don’t eat too close to your bedtime and avoid anything too acidic, fatty or spicy. If you get peckish before bed, choose foods that are high in tryptophan, like nuts, eggs and cottage cheese.
14. If your issue is waking up in the night and not falling back to sleep, try and work out what’s keeping you awake – stress, worry? – and then deal with it in the day. If you can't do anything about it, try and control your thoughts and think of something else, like what you’ll wear the next day, to distract yourself.
15. Do some breathing exercises, gentle stretching or yoga before bed, though nothing that will raise your heart rate.
16.Try taking a bath (but not too hot as a change in body temperature can hinder sleep), reading a book or mag, or listening to an audio book or podcast before bed.
17. If it’s noise that disturbs your sleep, and you can't do anything about it, try using earplugs or listening to a fan or relaxing sleep app noises.
18. Make sure your bed is comfortable.
19. Don’t be tempted to turn your heaters on full. Though it seems cosy, a cool room – at about 18 degrees – is best.
20. If you work from home, don’t do it from your bed. Keep it solely for sleep and sex, not blogging and emails.
21. If you wake up in the night, stay as relaxed as possible and in a sleeping position.
22. If you keep waking up and staying awake for ages, try a non-stimulating activity in a different room — one that doesn't involve any screens.
23. Try and dim your lights in the evening, before you hit the hay.
24. Turn OFF your phone (yes, really) – the radiation, light and vibrations will be disturbing your sleep, and you’ll be more tempted to look at it in the night.
25. Buy an alarm clock. (See #24.)
26. Once you find a bed time ritual that works, stick to it (and don’t ever let it go).
27. If you're struggling to sleep because you're feeling stressed or too alert, try breathing deeply which allows more oxygen into the lungs and relaxes you. Breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth and it will make a difference. We promise (from experience!).
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