Struggling To Sleep? 10 Ways You Can Get A Better Night’s Rest
The quality of sleep we get each night plays a huge role in how we feel during the waking hours. Often, sleep difficulties can be found in your daily routine and a few adjustments to these usually lead to a better nightly rest. Here, we give you 10 tips on how you can find your correct sleeping formula:
Getting your body into its natural sleep-wake cycle – also known as the circadian rhythm – is one of the most important strategies to getting a good night’s sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help you feel much more refreshed and energized. Remember, consistency is key.
This will help you understand what habits affect your rest – try and track your sleep every day for a minimum of two weeks. Note down what time you go to bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up, how you felt in the morning – but also include other factors such as what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you did. From here, you can then compare daily activities with you sleep pattern and change things accordingly.
Going over a to-do list in bed is one of the major causes of sleep insomnia in people. Instead of fretting about what needs doing the next day, get it down on paper so you can forget about it until you wake up. This will help you feel calmer and thus more likely to sleep.
If you are a smoker, Nicotine is a stimulant which prevents you from falling asleep. In addition, many smokers experience withdrawal symptoms at night. Smoking increases the chances of sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which also can affect your quality of sleep. Don’t worry about if giving up will make you restless at night either – studies have shown most people’s urges pass in about three nights.
A regular yoga technique, humming can help create an all-round sense of calm throughout the body. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, drop your shoulders and relax your jaw whilst keeping your mouth gently closed. Then breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible ensuring your abdomen, not chest, rises. Try to hum for the entire out-breath for six breaths.
Working out – especially cardio – improves the length and quality of your sleep. 30 minutes of intense exercise increases body temperature for about four hours. After that, it begins to cool down which signals to the brain sleep-inducing melatonin, making you feel drowsy.
Caffeine is a stimulant which stays in your system for around eight hours, so if you have a coffee after dinner, it’ll either stop your brain from entering a deep sleep or prevent you from sleeping altogether.
Sleep is not an on-off switch – give your body and mind a chance to transfer from the daily routine to bedtime drowsiness. Try setting out a sleep plan over an hour similar to this:
First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack bags, set out clothes).
Next 20: Personal hygiene (brush your teeth, shave, moisturize).
Last 20: Relax in bed, read a book or practice deep breathing.
The perfect night time meal is a mixture of carbohydrates and either a protein or calcium which contains tryptophan. This combination helps boost serotonin, a natural brain chemical that makes you feel calm. Try and snack an hour before bed so the serotonin has time to reach your brain.
Another yoga method, this form of breathing is believed to reduce blood pressure and calm the body. Lie on your left side and rest a finger on your right nose to close it. Then start slow, deep breathing in your left nostril until you feel yourself drifting off to sleep.
About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.