10 Tips to Help You Fall and Stay Asleep
We all know how important sleep is for our physical and mental wellbeing. That being said, we also all know how hard it can be to fall and stay asleep for a decent amount of time and quality. Many of us will have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep at one point or another; whether it is just business, lack of time, or stress causing you to toss and turn, you are not alone when it comes to wanting more good, quality shut eye!
When it comes to sleep it is important to be realistic. Yes you will read almost everywhere that it is absolutely vital to get a minimum of 8 hours sleep. While we agree that getting enough sleep is absolutely essential, we know that for many of us 8 hours every night might be borderline impossible. Have a read of some realistic and helpful tips to help you fall and stay asleep…
I cannot emphasise enough just how important it is to try and have a regular sleep schedule. This means choosing a bedtime and wake up time that works for you every single day and sticking to it like glue where possible! Creating a schedule is the best way to get your body adjusted to winding down for the night and it will certainly become easier to wake up every morning. Of course there might be occasions where these time slots change slightly, but where possible (even at weekends) do try and stick to this schedule, it will help you a huge amount.
- Limit Your Caffeine
If you are still consuming your coffee late into the afternoon/ evening you are far more likely to struggle with getting to sleep than if you were to limit your caffeine only to the mornings. Tea and coffee are great in moderation, but as morning turns to afternoon instead try switching to a herbal or relaxing tea later in the evening.
- Limit Screen Time
It is no surprise that you may be left tossing and turning through the night if you have been absorbed by videos on your phone or intense programmes on the TV just before you head to bed for the night. Research shows that exposure to the blue light from our electronic devices decreases our melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that signals to us it is time for bed. Of course we all need to relax and have some Netflix time, but try to wind down with no screen time an hour or so before you go to sleep. Try and limit your screen time and electronics in your bedroom so your brain begins to associate this as a place just for sleep and rest.
- Write It Down!
How often have you woken up bolt upright in the middle of the night thinking about an idea you have just come up with for your meeting or worrying about things you have going on the next day. Before you go to bed, jot down all your concerns, ideas and worries, fears and to do’s. Get them clear on paper so your mind can relax so these things don’t pop up in your dreams!
Sometime all our bodies and minds need is some peace and quiet. Even if it is just for 5 minutes, try to just sit and be present with your thoughts. Close your eyes and focus on breathing calmly and deeply. So often we go from being crazy busy, hustling and bustling through the day straight to bed. We might be lying down but our minds are very much still in overdrive. Taking some time to slow and calm down is a great indicator for our bodies and brain that it is time to rest.
- Take a Warm Bubble Bath
Personally my favourite way to wind down and get ready for bed is a nice, hot bath. Studies have shown that the increase in body temperature triggers a feeling of tired and sleepiness which is exactly what we need before. I love adding some Epsom salts to relieve any tension from my muscles along with a nice relaxing candle!
- Keep Your Bedroom Cool
There’s nothing quite like jumping into a warm cosy bed, but if your room temperature is too warm you will soon overheat and find getting and staying asleep uncomfortable. Experts recommend setting your room temperature to around 17 degrees for a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid Clock Watching
Quite often the first thing we reach for when waking in the middle of the night is our phone or watch. This only causes us stress and panic about the fact that we cannot fall asleep. In turn this stress only keeps us awake for longer! Try and avoid looking at your phone or clock, if you need an alarm, plug your phone into the other side of your room. This is also a great tool for making sure you get physically up when your alarm signals it is time to wake.
- Focus on Daily Movement
It is no surprise that physical activity has been linked to an improved quality of sleep. Exercise has been proven to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain and decrease cortisol – the stress hormone. Try and move your body for at least 30 minutes a day. Sometimes this might be an intense workout, other times it might be as simply as a gentle walk or stretch. Getting the blood flowing and heart pumping daily brings us so many benefits with improved sleep being a crucial one of those.
Give these bedtime stretches a go. Perfect for getting your body relaxed and ready for a restful nights’ sleep.
- Read a Physical Book
When our children are small a story seems to be the best thing to whisk them off into a peaceful night’s sleep. It really is no different for adults. Reading before bed helps us to wind down and relax and can automatically give us that sleepy sensation. It is important to differentiate reading from your electronics and reading from a paper book. Where possible do try to read from a physical book or kindle designed to be brain friendly before bed!
Having trouble falling and staying asleep can be very frustrating not only on our physical but also our mental health. Implementing some of the strategies above will help you to fall asleep quicker, have a better quality of sleep and in turn feel refreshed and energized the next day.
Read next: Why Sleep Is So Important For Recovery