Everyone deserves a good night’s rest, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard to get that good night’s sleep, which can cause undue stress and fatigue.
These issues can vary from person to person, and everyone’s ideal sleep can vary, but there are a few things which everyone can do which will typically improve your sleep. So, here are some tips which might help you achieve easier sleep and a deeper slumber.
Getting into a regular bedtime pattern can help your body set its internal body clock. Going to bed at a regular time will let your body acclimatise to a pattern, meaning that you’ll likely get naturally sleepy at a specific time and start waking up at a consistent time.
The amount of sleep you need to properly function will be somewhere in the range of 6 to 8 hours, so it’s best to work with what you feel is best for your body and plan your sleep schedule around that. The more often you keep to your sleep schedule, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve a restful sleep each night.
Smartphones are especially useful devices for keeping us entertained and in touch with friends and family, but too much screen time late into the night can impact your sleep negatively.
The blue light emitted from mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices can reduce the production of melatonin – a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. Because your body’s melatonin levels are lower, it can make falling asleep and staying asleep harder than it should be.
A lot of new phones have features which can help you switch off on an evening, such as grayscale, dark themes and night light functions, which change how your phone screen displays images but the best option is to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone at night.
The act of relaxing and ‘winding down’ before going to sleep is an important step in the process of going to bed. Not only can certain actions be incorporated into your routine to tell you body its time to sleep, such as stretching or gentle yoga routines, but the activities themselves can help you to chill out.
Organising your thoughts and putting them down on a “to-do” list or weekly planner can help you clear your mind of worries or concerns, or even just setting an alarm on your phone with a label to remind you to do something urgent.
Reading a book, listing to calming music or a podcast can also lull you to sleep by taking your mind off of things and get your brain going as you fall into a deep sleep. It could even stop you worrying about whether you’re going to get to sleep!
Obviously, you’d want the room where you’re going to sleep to have a positive affect on your rest and minimise any distractions or disruptive features. Studies have shown that the ideal bedroom environment is dark, quiet and an ambient temperature (between 18oC and 24oC) which works for you.
There are lots of environmental factors which can negatively impact our sleep – a bad mattress, noise from outside, streetlights streaming in through the windows, etc. Do what you can to minimise those factors and you’ll likely see an improvement in your sleep.
If you’re experiencing regular sleep disruptions, noting down your daily activities and instances of sleepless nights can help reveal links between things you do that could be causing you to lose sleep.
GPs or sleep experts will nearly always ask you to keep a sleep diary if you’re bringing them problems with sleep as it can give them valuable insight into your life and understand what things could be causing sleep problems that you might not have picked up on.