We already know that too little sleep is bad for you – now in addition, recent reports have suggested that too much sleep can also be bad for you.
To help you get a better night’s sleep check out the following 20 ways to get a better sleep tonight.
Leave your worries outside the bedroom. If you’re stressed about tomorrow’s gigantic To Do list, write it all down in a notepad before you rest. This way, you can help to clear your head and forget about it until tomorrow.
If you’re feeling adventurous give gentle yoga or meditation a go to help you feel calm before you sleep.
2. Paint the walls
Cool colours such as blues, greens and grey can help to reduce your heart rate, slow respiration and lower blood pressure. Blue is said to be associated with calm and soothing feelings which will help prevent nightmares, so pick up a brush and start painting!
3. Don’t be a Clock-Watcher
Stop looking at that clock – you’ll end up worrying about the time you have left in bed. Turn your clock to face away from you, or if you’re a clock-watching addict then put it away in the drawer.
4. The dark side of blue light
Artificial light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient light-bulbs may be bad for your health after sundown. Exposure to blue wavelengths can disrupt the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles, so put away that laptop. Stay away from screens (TVs, computers and mobile phones) for ideally 2 – 3 hours before you sleep.
5. No napping
As appealing as a quick forty winks may be, avoid napping if you have trouble trying to get to sleep. If you get tired in the afternoon, drink a glass of ice water or go for a short walk to help wake yourself up.
6. Cut the coffee, tea & cigarettes
Caffeine can interfere with rest so stay away from coffee and tea from midday onwards. Nicotine is also a stimulant – smoking before bed can increase your heart rate and keep your brain alert, so put down those cigarettes!
7. Sort out your sleep cycle
Go to bed and make sure you awake at the same time each day, even at weekends. Following this routine will help get your body and brain on a healthy sleep-wake cycle which will lead to healthier body and mind.
Regular exercise has been shown to help sleep. Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This will mean you will sleep better and have more energy the next day. Don’t work out too close to bedtime though as this might make you feel more awake.
9. Stop working
It’s time to switch off from work and start removing computers and work material away from the bedroom. This will help clear your mind and lead to a good period of relaxation before bedtime.
10. Prevent bathroom visits in the night
Don’t drink anything within 2 hours of bedtime – this means you won’t need the loo in the middle of the night!
11. Stay away from alcohol
You may wonder why you tend to rise early after you’ve had a heavy night out. Alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, but don’t be fooled – sleep patterns later in the night will be more disrupted and keep you from getting that vital REM sleep you need to feel refreshed.
12. No dogs & cats
Are you awoken by whimpering, snoring and wandering? Say goodnight to Barker the dog and Fluffy the cat today! Sharing a bed with a pet can lower your sleep quality, so banish them from the bedroom and you’ll soon be on your way to a peaceful night’s sleep.
13. Light right
Avoid blue lights at night and switch on lamps with warm yellow or gold light. Try soft lighting which light only the areas of the room you need to use. Why not get romantic with candlelight?
14. Eat well
Avoid heavy meals late at night as they will make your digestive system work harder. Finish any snacks at least one hour before bed to help your digestive system.
15. Open a window
As long as it is safe to do so, leave your window slightly open to let air circulate around your bedroom. The ideal temperature for sleep is 18 – 21°C, so if you’re a perfectionist, why not invest in a room thermometer?
16. Take a hot bath
Body temperature dips at night starting 2 hours before sleep, so have a soak in a hot bath for 20 – 30 minutes to help your temperature rise. The cool-down period after your bath will relax you, meaning you’re likely to have a deep sleep.
17. Wear socks
Your bedroom might be cool but your body should be toasty. Do your feet get cold at night? If they are keeping you awake then warm them up with a nice comfy pair of socks or hot water bottle. The added heat can help improve your circulation, allowing you to fall asleep quicker. You’ll soon be counting those sheep!
18.Keep the noise down
Consider earplugs if your room is affected by noise at night. If you can’t use earplugs then try listening to soothing sounds or make your own white noise by setting your radio between station channels. You’ll be peaceful in no time!
19. Block out the light
Why not install thick curtains in your bedroom? This will help keep your room as dark as possible when you sleep. Exposure to light will affect your biological clock, so you may find it difficult to fall asleep.
20. Stick to a routine
Develop nightly habits such as brushing your hair or laying out your pyjamas. Routines are a great way to get your brain thinking it’s time to relax and shift into sleep mode.
Sleep well tonight!
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments below.