Posted on: 2 December, 2019

How to get a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep can do wonders for our health and wellbeing. If we achieve the recommended 6-8 hours per night, we’ll experience improved brain function, reduced stress and a lowered risk of disease.

Whilst some of us can sleep soundly most nights, others don’t find it that easy – but it’s really important that we take our sleep cycle seriously. Modern life can often be to blame for insomnia, with exposure to technology and feelings of stress at an all-time high.

If you struggle to fall asleep, or your sleep quality is poor, give the below tips a try.

Take the time to wind down

In today’s world, life can be fast-paced – and, sometimes, stressful. When we’re experiencing situations that induce feelings of stress and anxiety, we can feel the repercussions on our health and wellbeing. For many, negative feelings can impact their ability to sleep, causing insomnia and a range of sleep problems.

It’s important to give yourself the time to wind down before bed, particularly after long, busy days. For some, a few hours each night may be necessary to switch off from the day. A warm bath or shower can often suffice to induce feelings of intense relaxation, working to soothe the muscles. It’s also a great idea to clear your mind by writing in a journal every night, as well as writing a to-do list for the next day. It’s often difficult to fall asleep when our brains are occupied by too many thoughts, so it’s a good idea to get them down on paper.

If you haven’t already, try practising some gentle stretches before bed. Yoga, even in its simplest forms, helps to improve circulation and rid the body of toxins; both of which contribute to a restful night’s sleep.

Reduce caffeine consumption throughout the day

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a coffee or two in the morning and early afternoon; in fact, doing so may actually offer some health benefits. However, drinking heavily caffeinated drinks later on in the day can have negative impacts on our sleep pattern. It’s recommended that we avoid caffeine after 3pm, since it can remain in the blood for up to 8 hours after consumption. Instead, try making yourself a herbal tea before bed; camomile, in particular, is widely appreciated for its soothing properties.

Lower your exposure to blue light

The use of technology has become increasingly popular over recent years, with most of us owning some sort of device – whether that’s a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Whilst it’s great to be able to use these to stay in touch with loved ones, the blue light emitted from screens can negatively impact our sleep quality and ability to drift off.

Melatonin is the hormone that, when released, helps us to fall asleep and regulates our sleep pattern. However, blue light inhibits its production in the brain, making it harder to fall asleep at night. Put simply, when exposed to it during the night time, blue light can trick our brains into thinking that it’s daytime. Subsequently, we find it more difficult to become tired.

It’s therefore recommended that we stop using screens two hours before bedtime. You may find it difficult initially, particularly if you regularly watch TV before bed. Over time, though, it becomes easier – and you’ll soon notice the benefits to your sleep cycle.

Try essential oils

Sometimes, there’s nothing more effective than a natural remedy to improve our circadian rhythm. Try pouring diluted lavender or peppermint oil into an essential oil diffuser for maximum relaxation benefits; or, alternatively, invest in a lavender spray for your bed linen.

From limiting your caffeine intake to taking an hour before bed to read your favourite book, there are a wide range of therapeutic activities you can try to prepare your mind and body for bedtime.

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