Getting a good night's sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your energy, productivity and emotions. We have put together some tips you can follow to increase how well you sleep.
Work with your body clock
Try to get up and go to sleep at the same time every day. This helps your body get in to a routine. This also means you should avoid sleeping in too long at weekends, as this can make you feel more tired. Instead, opt for a day time nap.
Speaking of naps, if you need to make up for lost sleep, limit them to 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon. This means you can gain more sleep without disturbing your natural sleep cycle.
It is proven that those who regularly exercise are less tired in the daytime and sleep better at night. Exercise can also improve symptoms of Insomnia and increase the amount of time you spend in a deep sleep.
Try to finish moderate to strenuous exercise at least three hours before you go to sleep or try relaxing, low-impact exercises such as Yoga in the evening.
Relax before bed
Rather than picking up your phone and scrolling through social media, try and wind down with a warm bath or by reading your favourite book. This prepares your body for sleep as your brain won’t be accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation.
Eat and drink smart
Limit your caffeine and nicotine intake - Caffeine can cause problems sleeping even after 10-12 hours of drinking it! Smoking is also a stimulant that can affect your sleep.
Cut back on sugary food and refined carbs - Eating lots of foods such as white bread, white rice and pasta during the day can trigger you to wake up at night and pull you out of a deep sleep.
Avoid drinking alcohol at night - This can interfere with your sleep cycle once you're asleep.
Avoid big meals at night - Try to eat dinner earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of going to bed.
Your sleep environment
Make sure your bed is comfy - Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, mattress toppers and pillows.
Reserve your bed for sleeping - Try not to spend time in bed during the day working, watching TV or using your computer. Allow your brain to only associate the bedroom with sleeping, as this makes it easier to wind down at night.
Noise - If you can't avoid noises from traffic or neighbours, try masking it with ear plugs or a fan.
Getting back to sleep
Relaxation techniques - Try various techniques such as meditation, visualisation or progressive muscle relaxation. They can be performed without getting out of bed and although not a replacement for sleep, they can help rejuvenate your body.
Quiet activity - If you have been awake for more than 15 minutes, try a non-stimulating activity such as reading a book in a low/dim light.
Don't stress - As hard as it may be, try not to stress about the fact you can not get back to sleep, this actually encourages your body to stay awake. Instead, focus on mindfulness and practise breathing exercises.
We hope some of these tips can help you to get a better night's sleep, making you more productive and less sleepy!