Considering recent events, it’s no surprise many of us are feeling anxious about falling ill – leaving some individuals concerned and more stressed than usual. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your physical and mental well-being – in addition to being productive at work.
These worries could be affecting our sleep at a time when getting a good night’s sleep is important.
But what does “good” sleep even look like? When counting sheep, avoiding cheese before bed and not drinking after 6pm doesn’t work, what does?
7 to 9 hours a night for most adults is what’s counted as “good” sleep. So if you’re not clocking those precious sleep hours and you’re in need of some tips to help you doze off, here’s a few to share with you!
1. Get into a routine
2. Reduce technology
3. Ditch the caffeine
4. Lights out
5. Relax, sleep, repeat
6. Get active
Get into a routine
Giving yourself a structured day can help you get the sleep you need. Start by working backwards – work out what time you need to wake up each day in order to achieve at least 7 hours of sleep – this will help with setting yourself a regular bedtime schedule.
Put down the phone! As hard as it is to tear yourself away from your TV, phone, tablets or any other tech device it will be good for you! The backlit ‘blue light’ displays suppress melatonin production – the hormone that helps you sleep; the suppression of melatonin causes sleep disruption.
Ditch the caffeine
Caffeine has numerous benefits. However, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. In one study, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Hello darkness, my old friend… turning the lights down low can help make you feel sleepy, a dark room lets your body know that it’s time to rest, allowing your “body clock” to kick in to help you drift off. If you’re living somewhere busy like the city, invest in some blackout blinds or heavy curtains – you won’t regret it.
Relax, sleep, repeat
Stress can impact your life in many ways, including negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. It’s important to take out some time for yourself to help free your mind, you could pick up a book, enjoy a warm bath or shower, listen to soothing music or even get yourself organised for the next day.
Being physically active can help improve our sleep quality and duration whilst also helping our mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Just a small walk through the local park each day, can make all the difference in helping to reduce your stress levels.