Simple Hacks For A Restful Night
Struggling to fall asleep, struggling with lack of energy and motivation, who of us hasn’t been there at some stage?
Over the recent decades research has demonstrated that bad sleeping habits such as irregular bed times, lack of sleep etc. have a detrimental effect on mood, concentration and every day functioning of people. On the other hand it has become obvious that if you follow a few simple routines every night you have a greater chance of improving your sleep and as a result your daily function
Below are a few simple tips that help you to develop a good bedtime routine and get you back on track for a restful night of sleep:
Go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends. Our bodies love routine and keeping a regular rhythm will make you feel better
Sleep When Sleepy
Only try to sleep when you are sleepy. You might find if you have a regular bedtime you will be sleepy at around the same time every night.
Reduce Screen Time
For the last couple of hours before going to sleep avoid looking at your phone or tablet. The blue-ish light and the flicker rate of these devices stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
Get Up And Try Again
If you are still awake after ½ hour, get up and go into a different room. Have the lights only dimmed and do something quite boring and wait for your sleep wave to come.
Avoid Caffeine And Nicotine
Caffeine and nicotine act as stimulants and you are better off avoiding them for 4-6 hours before you go to sleep. Just remember that green tea or black tea and even dark chocolate also contain some form of caffeine.
Although it might feel like alcohol relaxes you, it actually interrupts the quality of your sleep. Hence it is best to avoid it for 2-4 hours before you go to sleep.
The Bed Is For Sleeping (And Sex)
If you use your bed with activities such as watching TV, checking your phone, working on your laptop then your body starts to associate these activities with going to bed. However if you only use your bed for sleeping, then your body automatically goes into relaxing mode when you go to bed, making it easier to fall asleep.
If you have problems sleeping at night, avoid daytime naps. This way you help your body to be tired at night. If it is too hard to get through the day, have a short nap (<60min) before 3 pm.
If you have the same routine every night before going to sleep, your mind and body start to notice those signals and is ready to fall asleep more easily.
Have a Bath
A hot bath (or even a hot shower) 1-2 hours before sleep relaxes your muscles and raises your body temperature. Once the body temperature starts to drop and causes you to feel sleepy.
Put Your Worries Away
If worrying thought keep you awake at night, it can be useful to have a little ritual where you imagine yourself putting all those thoughts away in a box and lock this box up over night (so that you can retrieve them in the morning) or attach the box with the thoughts to a helium balloon so that they can float away.
Avoid a heavy meal short before bedtime as it interferes with your sleep. But you don’t want to go to bed hungry either. Sometimes it’s good to have a light snack 1-2 hours before bedtime, that could be a glass of milk or a small serve of yoghurt, both of which contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with sleep.
Regular exercise is great to help with sleep. However, avoid strong exercises such as running, aerobics etc. 4 hours before sleep as they are too energising. Instead for the late evening try some gently yoga or tai chi.
Our bodies evolved by living in nature. Lack of daylight can cause our body rhythms to get confused. Daily exposure to daylight (and ideally some sun) helps to set our body clock right and to improve our sleep.
Keep It Dark
Make sure your bedroom is dark. You can find out if it is dark enough by using this simple trick: In the dark room hold your hand an arm’s length away from you, palm facing you. If you still can see the palm of your hand, your room is not dark enough. To make up for that you can use an eye mask or install blinds if you don’t already have them.
Keep It Quiet
Our body is tuned to listen, even if we are asleep. In order to have a restful sleep keep the room quiet and if necessary use earplugs.
Keep It Comfortable
It is important that you have the right bedding, not too hot and not too cold. You also want to feel comfortable lying in your bed. And you want to make sure that the room is well ventilated.