1. Unwind and Relax
We understand. We all lead busy lives. There’s work, family, children, friends and the home to consider so it’s unsurprising that most of us consistently feel time-poor.
Unfortunately, when we’re too busy, often rest and relaxation falls down the list of priorities but it is very important to factor in some relaxation time every day, especially in the evening to prepare for a good night’s sleep. So, try a relaxing bubble bath, light some fragrant, natural aromatherapy candles, dim the lights and relax in the comfort of your bathroom. Perhaps play some of your favourite calming music or read a book you’ve been longing to start. This will help your mind to disappear into your imagination, relieving you of the stresses of the day and preparing your body and mind for a night of uninterrupted sleep.
2. Unplug Your Technology
Unfortunately, technology really hampers sleep patterns, especially with the glowing lights of a tablet, computer or smartphone. Your brain reacts to the light and wakes up when bright lights glare so it’s best to switch all your technology off at least one hour before you go to bed. This gives your brain a chance to slow down and it stops the relentless pinging of emails – if you find it hard to switch off from work, then you’ll find it hard to resist temptation of answering messages. Try turning off your technology, you should find it helps you to wind down much quicker without it. Even better, remove all forms of technology from your bedroom so there’s no noise, light or buzzing potentially ruining your chances of a good night of rest.
3. Make Sure Your Room Is Dark
Cracks of light can interrupt sleep. It’s best to sleep in a dark room because your body’s rhythm is programmed by night and day. When it’s dark, your body naturally produces melatonin, this is the hormone that helps you to sleep and that’s why early, bright mornings can awaken you before you’ve had sufficient sleep. So, check your curtains and blinds and if you find that light is creeping in and waking you early, you could consider blackout lining or why not purchase a soft, pure cotton or silk eye mask to help you sleep longer?
4. Stick to a Regular Night-Time Routine
If you go to bed at erratic times then your body won’t develop a regular rhythm. One of the best things you can do is stick to a routine bedtime, every day if possible. That means going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. When you do this, your biological clock will kick in and stay in synchronicity with your body’s natural rhythm all day long. Your body will also understand when it’s time to go to bed and you’ll start to feel tired when bedtime arrives. This is your body’s way of telling you it’s time for some shut eye!
You can work out how much sleep you need and when to go to bed and wake up using a simple equation. The average sleep cycle for an adult is approximately 90 minutes and a typical night’s sleep consists of 5 sleep cycles which is 5 x 90 minutes = 450 minutes/60 (minutes in an hour) = 7.5 hours. So, you probably need around 7.5 hours. Make this your starting point and now work backwards. If you need to get up at 7.00am, go to bed at 11.30pm latest, this is your bedtime. See how that works for a few days and adjust it accordingly (you might need eight hours sleep to feel fully rested or just seven hours).
5. Turn the Heating Down
Heat makes you sleepy but a very hot room can make you restless too because your body temperature feels uncomfortable. The best temperature for a good night’s sleep is around 16 to 17 degrees centigrade. Once you’re under your duvet, you warm up so make sure your room is at the right temperature. Also, you may need a lighter-weight duvet as the season’s change. It’s normal to use a heavier duvet in the winter but in the spring and summer, if you find you get very hot, try a 4-tog duvet for comfort and stick to natural fibres – see below for more.
Still can't fall asleep?