Five tips for getting to sleep quick smart
Can’t sleep? Fear not – with some small changes to your evening routine, you could soon be falling asleep faster and sleeping better.
It’s 11.30pm. You’re still awake, longing for that elusive moment when your eyelids start to feel heavy. But you keep watching the minutes tick over; your body is not succumbing. You become more annoyed and more awake as you urge yourself to fall asleep, to no avail.
If this sounds familiar, these five tips could help you fall asleep faster and experience a better night’s sleep.
1. Have a warm relaxing bath
Sleep research suggests that body temperature may play an important role in helping you sleep. Just before you fall asleep, your body temperature drops slightly, this helps your body to save energy while you sleep, but it may also help you fall asleep.
Showering or bathing just before bed can help to raise and then lower your body temperature, mimicking this process. And it’s a good excuse to enjoy a warm, relaxing bath at the end of a long day!
2. Banish technology from the bedroom
Melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain in response to light levels, helps regulate sleep patterns.
At night when it’s dark your body produces high levels of melatonin which helps to tell your body that it’s time to hit the sack. In the morning when the sun starts to rise your body produces less melatonin, which prompts you to wake up.
Try and limit light exposure in the evening and avoid watching TV and using computers, tablets and mobile phones 2-3 hours before bedtime. The blue light from the screens reduces the amount of melatonin the brain creates, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
Once you’re awake have a ‘natural espresso’ by going outdoors into the sun light as this limits the amount of melatonin your brain produces, helping you to wake up. Don’t forget to be sun smart!
3. Avoid the urge to nap or sleep in
Going to sleep at about the same time each night can help to set your internal body (circadian rhythm) ‘clock’ and help you to create a regular sleep pattern.
Try not to lie in over the weekend, or have a nap during the day, as this can disturb your sleep pattern making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
4. Put down the coffee
Stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes can stimulate the brain and nervous system and keep you awake. So try and avoid having them before bedtime.
5. Practise mindful sleep
If you find yourself lying in bed at night worrying and unable to fall asleep, why not try to wind down mentally in the hour before bedtime? Calm your thoughts and prepare your mind for sleep. Listening to quiet music, reading a book or even practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help.
It’s no secret that a good night’s slumber can help you feel fresh and energised. But sleep is also vital for healthy living. Scientists don’t know exactly why we need so much sleep, but research suggests that sleep may help to keep your immune system strong, promote growth and healing, control your appetite and help enhance your memory – all the more reason to nail the act of falling asleep!
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