Do you have difficulty sleeping or suffer from insomnia? Struggle to switch off from work or social media? Or binge-watch multiple TV series at night? A regular bed time routine is crucial in boosting your chances of a good night’s sleep.

Mentalhealth.org says that there are four pillars that result in a good night’s sleep: Health, Environment, Attitude and Lifestyle. Having and maintaining good health, sleeping in an environment free of light and noise, not worrying or over-thinking and exercising all regularly improve your quality of sleep.

1. Wind down before bed

Relax and unwind before bed time by taking a warm bath and having a soothing soak to loosen up and de-stress. Take part in yoga exercises and focus on deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness to help relax muscle tension from the work day. A 2005 study found that 69 elderly patients who practiced yoga fell asleep faster, felt more well-rested and slept longer than other groups. Choose a time to separate from your mobile phone and opt for a more relaxing option such as reading a book or listening to calming music.

2. Make your room a relaxing environment

Limit and remove electronic gadgets in the bedroom such as mobiles, TVs, tablets and game consoles as these act as distractions making relaxation more difficult. The ‘blue light’ from screen displays reduces melatonin, a hormone that helps you to sleep. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, tidy and quiet, to ensure you get a good night’s rest. Are you a light sleeper? Use earplugs or ensure you have double glazing fitted in your house.

3. Reduce alcohol consumption

Alcohol has been proven to worsen quality of sleep. A 2017 study by Pietilä and colleagues revealed that alcohol impaired sleep quality and lowered restorative sleep.  Drinkaware advises that drinking alcohol makes you feel sluggish and tired, resulting in reduced quality of sleep. To ensure you wake up feeling energised, avoid alcohol too close to bedtime and opt for an herbal drink instead.

4. Learn how to get back to sleep

You’ve woken up in the middle of the night and your alarm hasn’t gone off yet... We’ve all been there!

Try our tips to get you back to sleep:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Avoid thinking too much about not being able to sleep
  • Read a book for 15 minutes
  • Avoid screens
  • Write down on paper any feelings of anxiousness

5. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows

Having a comfortable and supportive mattress will ensure a better-quality night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation states that a mattress has a life expectancy of 9 or 10 years therefore replacing your mattress with a new one is essential to drift into a pleasant and restful sleep. The Telegraph recommends memory foam pillows as it moulds the shape of your head and provides solid support whilst sleeping, or Microfibre combines cotton, feather and memory foam but is a more expensive option.

Still looking for more ways to sleep better? The Mental Health Foundation’s sleep website (www.HowDidYouSleep.org) provides free audio relaxation techniques guaranteed to help you fall asleep quickly and peacefully.

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44137559

https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/benefits-of-yoga-before-bed/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15937373/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/repaying-your-sleep-debt

https://mental.jmir.org/2018/1/e23/

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-sleep/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/getting-better-sleep.htm/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/recommended/home/best-pillows-luxurious-nights-sleep/

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/best-mattress-good-nights-sleep#1

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-sleep-better

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