Not being able to sleep is a common problem. It affects the way your feel during the day, reducing concentration and productivity, and also increases stress and anxiety. Sleeping well can help you to feel more energetic and enthusiastic, improve your concentration and help you to perform better in whatever you’re doing. Read our tips on how to get a better night’s sleep to improve the way you feel in day-to-day life.
Light and dark affects your sleep patterns dramatically, both the amount of daylight you see during waking hours and the light levels in your bedroom at night.
During the day, it’s important to ensure you are exposed to as much natural sunlight and bright light as possible. This affects what’s known as the circadian rhythm of your body — your body’s internal clock. You circadian rhythm impacts hormone levels throughout the day, telling you body when it’s time to wake up, eat, sleep and other regular rhythms.
Bright daylight helps to regulate and improve your circadian rhythm, giving you more energy in the day and helping you to feel more sleepy at night.
A lot of studies have shown huge improvements for people suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders, but it’s also thought that it’s beneficial for those who get an average night’s sleep.
Blue light is emitted from electronic devices such as phones, tablets, laptops and the TV. Blue light mimics the properties of sunlight (although doesn’t bring the benefits associated with bright light during the day!) and can therefore disturb your circadian rhythm. It tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, so can mean it takes longer to get to sleep.
You can download apps on your phone or tablet which filter blue light. Or you could try to avoid watching TV before bed.
Our brain understands that night time is sleep time, which means that when it’s dark we produce more of the hormone that helps us to sleep. Ensuring that your bedroom is as dark as possible can greatly improve your sleep.
Blackout blinds or high quality shutters are both extremely effective in reducing light in your bedroom and improving sleep quality.
What you eat and drink throughout the day can have a big impact upon how well you sleep at night. Caffeine can have a lot of benefits. However, it stays in the bloodstream for 6-8 hours after drinking a mug of coffee, so it’s best to not consume coffee too late in the day. Some people are genetically more sensitive to caffeine than others, so learning how your body reacts and planning accordingly can be really beneficial.
It’s also good not to eat too close to going to bed. Studies have suggested that eating impacts HGH and melatonin, both of which influence how quickly you get to sleep and your quality of sleep.
The type of food you eat can also impact sleep. Food high in sugars will stimulate your brain and make it harder to get to sleep. There are foods that help to increase melatonin so if you do need a late-night snack, try a banana with unsweetened almond butter or some pistachios.
While alcohol can help people to get to sleep faster, it results in a lower quality of sleep and can also increase snoring, sleep apnea and disturbed sleep patterns.
One of the most common reasons people struggle to sleep is due to stress or anxiety, or simply not being able to switch off from the thoughts of the day!
There are lots of different techniques to help you relax and unwind. A hot bath helps to increase blood flow and decrease muscle tension. Reading a book can help to distract you from the stresses during the day and unwind before bed. It can also be extremely helpful to write a to do list for the following day. It stops your brain from overthinking and trying to remember all the activities for the following day and let’s you sleep better.
Getting into a routine is essential; simple, routine steps signal to your brain that you’re preparing to sleep. Whether it’s a hot bath or shower, a foot massage or simply sitting down to read, having a daily bedtime routine can speed up how long it takes you to get to sleep.