When you’re tossing and turning in your bed, staring at the clock for hour upon hour, it can seem like you’re fighting a losing battle. Even if you do manage to finally get to sleep, you only feel void of energy and looking for the nearest sugar-filled treats to keep you going. Clearly this spells disaster for your waistline and your health alike.
But there are five really easy steps you can take that will ensure you always get a great night’s sleep, stick to your diet and feel awesome.
Here’s how you can do it.
Step #1: Avoid stimulants before bed
Even a poorly-timed cup of tea, glass of wine or cigarette can wreak havoc on your sleep quality, and your ability to fall asleep.
Caffeine has been proven to delay the release of that essential sleep hormone melatonin and when drunk before bedtime, prevents your body from falling asleep when it should and resulting in a kind of jet lag.
The alcohol in that late glass of wine can cause you to skip restorative REM (dreaming) sleep and increases your alpha-brainwave activity, causing that drowsy, groggy feeling in the morning.
And smoking tobacco has been proven to disrupt your circadian rhythm, increase your chances of sleep apnea and frequent waking, and keeps you awake for hours.
The solution is clear- assert some willpower and switch to caffeine-free drinks or opt for decaf after around 2pm, go easy on the alcohol and if you really must smoke, stick to the morning and early afternoon.
Step #2: Develop a solid bedtime routine
What makes you feel relaxed, sleepy and ready for bed? Whatever this might be, you can use them to help you get a better night’s sleep. You see, bedtime routines aren’t just for kids- they’re the perfect way to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep whatever age you are. This might involve taking a long hot bath, doing some yoga, listening to calm, relaxing music, meditating and so on.
So think about what your perfect bedtime routine would look like and practice it nightly.
Step #3: Get comfortable
There’s no way you can sleep well if you aren’t 100% comfortable, so you must prioritise comfort at all times. Make your room cool enough to sleep well (15-19°C is best), finding the most supportive pillow at the right height for your needs and likes, indulging in some soft and luxurious bedding and even opening a window to create a flow of fresh air if you can.
Step #4: Turn off your screens
The white light that is emitted from your smart phone, laptop and other devices also interferes with your body’s production of melatonin and prevents you from sleeping as you should.
Switch off your devices at least two hours before bed if you can. If this isn’t possible or realistic, consider downloading free software such as f.lux or Twilight to adjust the colour of your screen and make it more sleep-friendly.
Step #5: Embrace the darkness!
There’s a reason us humans go to sleep at night- we need the darkness to sleep. Even small amounts of light can interfere with our sleep quality and ability to fall asleep. To overcome this, consider installing blackout blinds, cover the small LEDs on your chargers, clock, computer and devices, plug any light leaks and get ready for the best night’s sleep of your life!
You can overcome your insomnia and get a great nights’ sleep by making some small lifestyle changes such as avoiding stimulants, developing a solid bedtime routine, getting comfortable, switching off your devices and embracing the darkness. Then you’ll enjoy restful and rejuvenating sleep once again.