Do you ever have nights where no matter how hard you try you just cant seem to shut your brain off and get to sleep? or keep waking up in the night restless taking ages to go back off? do you wake up and feeling that you’ve not had a good nights rest and feel sleepy all throughout the day? There could be many things you’re not doing and doing wrong in order to get a great nights sleep. I’ve found a few pointers on what to do and what not to do that just might be the answer to getting that rejuvenating sleep your desperate for.
Things that are not helping you…
- Avoid blue light blue light at night i.e from your phone, tv or computer can affect your melatonin levels which is a hormone produced my the brain to tell your body it time to get ready to sleep, this can have many negative affect on your health for more detailed information on how blue light effects us click here
- Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) Caffeine can have a stimulating effect as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. Once in the body, caffeine will persist for several hours, it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated from your body. I have read you should not consume any caffeine after 2pm.
- Avoid drinking two hours before bed if your a regular ‘wee’er’ in the night you can avoid this disturbance by not drinking from two hours before bed however you don’t want to dehydrate in the night so having a drink before those two hours is also recommended.
- Don’t watch your clock watching your clock can make your mind race thinking of things to do tomorrow how little time you have ect not letting your mind relax, it may also play a bit of a placebo effect if you watch all the minutes go by stressing about not getting enough sleep and being tired tomorrow i bet no doubt you’ll feel tired the next day.
- Exercise early some people think exercising can make you tired and you’ll be “out like a light” but this is wrong exercise actually gives you a burst of energy although you may feel initially tired from the exercise. you should try to exercise as early as you can in the day and avoid exercise 3-4 hours before bed.
- Avoid alcohol although a glass of wine might make you sleepy before bed it can actually keep you up through the night and effect your quality of sleep for more info on how alcohol affects sleep click here
- Don’t have heavy meals before bed having heavy meal at night can keep your digestive system working and keep you up avoid and heavy meals in the evening and avoid eating all together at least an hour before bed (I have read elsewhere you should avoid eating after 9pm)
- Avoid tvs & gadget before bed if your up late at night scrolling through instagram or watching a bit of late night come dine with me it can keep your mind active not allowing it to settle.
- Avoid bright light create a ambient setting just like the blue light any bright light can keep you up tricking your mind and body that its not bed time yet. Create a relaxing ambient environment for your bedroom with dim or no lighting, maybe after your dinner switch the room lights to lamps.
- Avoid loud noise kind of a follow on from the last point about creating a ambient setting avoid any harsh noise at night, the chattering from a tv can keep your mind active and stop it relaxing and allowing you to sleep.
Things that might help…
- Try aromatherapy there are a few scents that are said to help you sleep, make you sleep longer and deeper, and having you feeling more energised when you wake up. Lavender it a all time favourite.
- Try teas there are a range of teas that can help you sleep be sure its herbal and doesn’t contain caffeine. Chamomile tea is a popular choice.
- Try listening to some relaxing music this could be ocean waves, soft piano, rain ect. you can even get music with delta waves to relax your brain.
- Read a book reading helps a lot of people get to sleep by focussing your mind solely on reading you can relax slowly and allow your body and brain to get tired. You should read in a soft light not a bright light.
- Try a herbal spray you can get herbal sprays for you pillow and oral sprays that can help you sleep and relax try Holland and Barrett.
- Eat two kiwis a hour before bed lots of scientific studies have proved that kiwis have improve your sleep and quite substantially they have helped people with severe sleep deficiencies
- Do some yoga or stretches, stretching before bed can relieve any tension in the body and relax the muscles. Try to focus on your breathing when stretching, taking deep long breaths and flow from on stretch to another
- Routine, routine, routine, keeping a good routine of the times you go to bed and wake up will help your body to naturally feel tired when it gets to that certain time and can make your body feel more awake and energised when waking up.
- Use a eye mask, I always sleep with a eye mask as it blocks out any sleep jeopardizing light, stops you from looking around and distracting your brain and for me personally it can make me feel a sense of comfort.
- Write a to do list, write a list of things you have to do tomorrow even down to phone calls you’ve got to make or things you need to bring up in conversations. Put what ever things you can in order that you need to do them this will help clear your mind of all the worries and stresses of things that need to be done the next day and allow your brain to relax. I always write list before bed and to be honest I write them all through out the day as it takes things off my mind and
- Have sex although vigorous exercise is not recommended before bed studies show that sex before bed makes you sleep and can help improve sleep.
- Keep a sleep diary-
- What were your sleeping times?How long did it take you to get to sleep?
- How many times did you wake up during the night?
- How long did each awakening last?
- How long did you sleep in total?
- Did you take any sleeping tablets?
- How well do you feel today?
- How enjoyable was your sleep last night?
- How much caffeine did you have before and after 5pm?
- How much alcohol did you have before and after 5pm?
- Did you do any exercise shortly before going to bed?
- Did you take any naps during the day or evening?
- Has anything made you anxious or stressed?
Doctors will ask you to keep a sleep diary to try and diagnose the problem also doing this just before bed can be relaxing.
13. Download Flux, flux is an application that can be downloaded for mac and windows which analyses the time of day with your sleep routine and helps protect you from blue light given off by your computer and is harmful to your sleep. it does this by applying a slight orange tinge over the screen to cancel out the blue light all setting can be adjusted. Download Here
14. Try the 90 Minute rule
Words – Robyn Samantha