Tip # 1. Drink less:
Avoid alcohol for at least two hours before bedtime. Although you might find it knocks you out, it actually interferes with your sleep cycle once you're asleep. It not only blocks your REM sleep (the deepest and most restoring kind) but also disrupts your circadian rhythm which means you wake up during the night. The result? You wake up feeling tired and groggy.
Also, don't overdo the water before bedtime. Having to get up multiple times to go to the toilet is a guaranteed recipe for poor quality sleep.
Tip # 2. Get comfortable:
Your sleeping position has a lot to do with the quality of your sleep. Sorry if you're a tummy sleeper because the most beneficial position to spend your precious 8 hours in is on your back. This position provides the best support for your neck and spine, plus it means you won't be wrinkling your face and décolletage area, meaning you'll quite literally be getting your beauty sleep!
Tip # 3. Don’t binge:
If you feel hungry in that period after suppertime and before bedtime resist the urge to chomp on something heavy and instead choose something light and digestible. This way your body won't be hard at work while you are trying to nod off. Good choices would be a piece of fruit with a dollop of peanut butter, half a cup of Greek yoghurt, or four crackers with some cheese.
Tip # 4. There is such thing as 'too early':
It's natural to feel sleepy after a big meal, but you shouldn't go to bed straight after your dinner. When that post-feast sluggish feeling starts setting in force yourself to get up and move around: do the dishes, do some laundry or pack your bag for the next day. If you go to bed too early it increases your chances of waking up at 3am and finding yourself unable to fall back to sleep.
Tip # 5. Get busy:
While you might feel mentally exhausted at the end of a long day, chances are your body is still full of unused energy due to being stuck behind a desk for most of it.
If you still haven't managed to make good on your New Year's resolutions to get into spinning don't stress; any form of physical exertion will do the trick. This could be a walk around the block, spending time in the garden or even tidying up around the house, just as long as your body is moving!
Tip # 6. Prep your room:
If you have your work desk or TV in there it's possible that the presence of something other than your bed is subconsciously stressing you out so try make your bedroom a place strictly for sleeping.
As soon as you walk in you should feel calm and ready to relax. Use bedside lamps instead of overhead lights, invest in luxurious pillows and bedding, have relaxing essential oils at hand (lavender is great for inducing sleep) and ban anything stressful or distracting: your room should be your sleep haven.
Our product picks: Dr Organic Bioactive Skincare Lavender Sleep Therapy Aroma Ball, Soil Organic Essential Oil in Lavender and Nature's Edition Lavender Perfumed Body Spritzer.
Tip # 7. Warm that body:
Scientific studies have shown that making a warm bath or shower part of your before-bed routine helps you fall asleep. Not only is it soothing but the change in temperature from hot to cold slows the metabolism and so preps your body to fall asleep more quickly.
Warming up your feet or hands can also help. Wear socks, gloves or use a hot water bottle. The shift of heat to these areas also cools down your core temperature quicker. The result? You fall asleep much faster.
Tip # 8. Put down the phone, really:
Multiple studies have shown the negative effects of screen-time on your sleep-time. The blue light emitted from a smartphone, tablet, laptop etc can disrupt your quality of sleep and affect your productivity levels the next day.
The solution is super simple yet many really struggle to implement it: no looking at screens for an hour before bedtime. Start getting strict with yourself and you will notice a difference both in your sleep quality and in what you end up doing for this time. Instead of an hour of mindless scrolling you’ll have a chance to do those things you always wish you had more time for: reading a book, journaling, drawing, doing Sudoku or a puzzle, meditating, or talking to a friend.
Tip # 9. Shhh please:
If you're a light sleeper anything from a car alarm to a nearby light switch can ruin your shuteye. If this is something you struggle with, try these two things.
Firstly, install blackout curtains in your bedroom to make it as dark as possible. Then get a quality pair of headphones and find what background noise suits you best to fall asleep to. Some go for some gentle Spanish guitar, some for relaxing piano music, but if you find music too distracting then white noise is your best bet. Just type ‘white noise’ into YouTube and you’ll find hours worth of the noise-cancelling sounds! Plus now that you’re someone who sleeps on your back the headphones won’t be a hindrance to your sleeping, win-win!
Tip # 10. Nap right:
If you've had a particularly bad night's sleep then the temptation to have a little daytime nap the next day is strong.
The art of napping is not to be taken lightly, however, so follow these steps to ensure it doesn't in fact mess up your next night's sleep as well. You only need to nap between 5 to 20 minutes to give you the energy burst you need so set your alarm, and don't hit snooze. Napping too late in the day will throw out your body clock; the perfect nap-time window is between 1pm and 3pm.
Tip # 11. Perfect timing:
Note to self: you are aiming to get around 7 hours of sleep every night. Your body responds well to routine so set your alarm for the same time every day, even weekends. Yes, you can eventually become a morning person!
You should also aim to get into bed at the same time every night. Your body will come to expect this and be ready to relax into deep sleep whenever the clock strikes bedtime. Oversleeping leads to grogginess, ruins your sleep patterns plus it’s precious time wasted so forbid yourself from snooze-ing.