How to get a good night's sleep
Getting to sleep can be as easy as 1, 2, ZZZ with our tips
With all the stresses of modern life, lack of sleep is no good for any of us, which is why we’ve put together 11 tips to help you sleep better.
1. Turn off the tech
If you’re guilty of taking a bedtime scroll through social media, checking emails on your laptop or watching a film to help you nod off, then it could be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. These electronic gadgets have a back-lit display, and have been found to cause suppression of melatonin (a naturally occurring sleep hormone) which may cause sleep disturbances.
Tempted to take a peek at your phone if you can’t sleep? Why not put it on the other side of the room; you’ll also have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm, which means no more snoozing!
2. Try a warm shower or bath
The key to this is timing. You don’t want to have a warm shower or bath too close to bedtime, as your body’s temperature can actually become too high to sleep. Try taking a bath an hour or two before you want to get into bed, take a good book with you and try a bubble bath with soothing smells – think lavender, oils and bath salts. If showers are more your thing, you don’t need to miss out on the soothing smells baths offer – so try a relaxing Shower Steamer.
3. Control your light
Go to sleep with a sunset and wake up with a sunrise by using a wake-up alarm clock. It’s very simple; the clock emits light for about 30 minutes before you want to wake up, allowing less of a startle when waking. The sunset effect can help you unwind at night, instead of going from a harsh full light to complete darkness, which can be really useful for those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Most clocks can double as a bedside lamp, too.
4. Get into a routine
Try going to bed at the same time each night – you might have the odd late night, but try getting into a routine as much as you can. You can help set your internal body clock ready for bed by choosing a time of night when you usually feel tired. This can help reduce the amount of times you toss and turn before getting off to sleep.
5. Try a book
If you create a bedtime ritual like reading, this signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and sleep. If you’re really desperate for sleep, try not to read something too stimulating as you’ll probably stay up all night because you’ll just have to know what happens next. Reading a book before bed also means you’re less likely to succumb to the blue light!
6. Limit your caffeine intake
If the number of cups of coffee you’re having in a day can be counted over two hands and you’re struggling to sleep, this could be one of the reasons why. Too much caffeine can upset sleep and make you feel irritated as well as tired. You know that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach? Yep, that’s caffeine. Try switching to decaf, gradually cutting down or stop drinking it altogether, especially after 5pm.
7. Make your bedroom your sleep haven
Your bedroom should be one of the places in your home where you can go to relax before drifting off to sleep. Bring some feng shui to your bedroom by thinking about the five senses: smell, touch, sight, sound and taste. If you need some help, think of it like this:
Smell – Pick up a candle* that burns essential oils like orange and lavender, perfect for helping you feel calm.
Touch – Comfort is key, so make sure your pillows aren’t too stiff and your cushions ooze fluffiness.
Sight – Keep your bed, and the rest of your room, clutter-free as this can be one less thing to worry about. Decorate your room with relaxing earth tones, such as blue, green and brown.
Sound – Sit back and listen to soothing music for half an hour before bed, as it may help you drift off quicker and get a better quality night’s sleep. Try tunes with a slow beat, such as jazz or classical.
Taste – Try to disassociate your bedroom with eating and keep food away. You want your bedroom to be your perfect sleep haven – not a place where you’re sleeping in crumbs.
*Never leave a burning candle unattended.
8. Practise relaxation techniques
Try deep breathing exercises before bed to help you unwind and relax. If you feel you lie there worrying about stresses from the day or something coming up, try writing all your worries down on a piece of paper in a different room and leave it there. This can help you disassociate the stresses and worries from your bedroom.
9. Try light exercises before bed
Exercise before bed can be a great way to help you unwind and feel ready for sleep. You don’t want to do vigorous exercises as they’ll have the opposite effect and keep your adrenaline running for longer. Instead, try yoga as this can help relax your mind and calm your mood. The best bedtime yoga post is the child pose, as it can help you feel relaxed and well stretched.*
* See www.fitwirr.com/workout/plan/beginners-yoga-asana for a before bed yoga routine.
10. Spritzzzz your way to slumber
Many pillow sprays can help you feel more relaxed at bedtime, and may help you feel refreshed when you wake in the morning. Look out for ones that contain lavender* and camomile* to calm both mind and body. Simply spray on your pillow and get ready to fall into a slumber.
*Do not use during pregnancy or in children’s rooms.
11. Get the temperature right
Ever cranked the heating up in your bedroom during winter and struggled to get to sleep? Too hot a room (around 24°C) prevents your body’s core temperature from going down, which is essential in helping you to fall asleep. A room that’s on the chilly side (around 12°C) may also hinder your sleep – so what’s the right temperature to help you drift off? A cool 16-18°C is thought to be the ideal, as your body heat peaks in the evening and goes to its lowest levels when you are asleep.
If you’re experiencing continuous problems with sleeping then visit your GP or your nearest Boots to speak with our pharmacists.