9 ways to help you get the best nights sleep
Having insufficient sleep can leave you looking for sugar, feeling grouchy and your productivity levels low. Not getting enough Z’s can have a negative impact on your mental health, so this winter (with the stress of COVID19 and Christmas upon us) make more time to get a good quality nights’ sleep…
To stop your mind going over the stresses of the day, allow yourself 20 minutes in the evening to think about anything you are worried about. When you find your mind thinking about it outside of the ‘worry time’ remind yourself you have a selected time each day to think about worries and move your thoughts onto something else – it takes practice but it will help you clear your mind when it comes to bedtime.
Jot it down
Have you ever been lying in bed and your brain keeps counting out all of the things you have to do over the next week? Try to manage your levels of stress before your head hits the pillow. If you are thinking about what you have to do the next day or over the next few days, write it all down on a piece of paper or in your mobiles’ notes app. This will allow your mind to stop thinking about them, as you know you will remember and be able to refer to your list in the morning.
If you find yourself busy with chores or work right up until you go to bed try and give yourself back at least 30 minutes (but preferably longer) to start winding down and put in place a bedtime routine. Run yourself a relaxing bath, enjoy a calming cup of Lavender, Limeflower and Rose Tea or Camomile Tea, or read a chapter of a book to help you start to relax and prepare for a restful sleep.
Stop hitting snooze
When you hit the snooze button your brain starts the whole sleep process again, drifting off into a deep sleep before being rudely awoken a few minutes later. This cycle can make you feel more tired and groggy than if you were to just get up properly when your alarm first sounds. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning can also help your body clock recognise bedtime and wake time.
Exercising during the day is said to help you have a deeper sleep, just around 30 minutes of can help. Exercise is also known to release endorphins and reduce stress, which in turn will help you to get a night of better sleep.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it is best avoided late at night (unless it is your intention to stay awake!). Choose a decaffeinated tea or coffee after 8 pm, or a naturally caffeine-free tea like Redbush or Camomile. Although it does contain a little caffeine (not nearly as much as coffee), a hot mug of Miles Heavenly Hot Chocolate to snuggle up with before bed is hard to beat for feeling cosy and comforted.
Going to sleep with a very full tummy can be uncomfortable. Try to steer clear of eating large, heavy meals too late at night, otherwise, you will probably find you have to wait for your food to go down before you get into bed. Equally going to bed hungry isn’t a good idea, as you will keep waking up with a grumbling tummy. Beware of alcohol, it may send you to sleep quickly but you will wake often and you won’t get the restful sleep you need. Nuts, seeds and milk are said to help get you to get a better nights' sleep, as they contain a sleep-promoting amino acid, as well as relaxing teas.
Avoid too much screen time for an hour or so before you hit the hay. Using an electronic device can interfere with your body’s internal clock. The light that the device gives off delays the release of a sleep-inducing hormone being released, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Another downside to using computers and mobile devices late at night is that they can be over-stimulating, increasing your alertness, which is the opposite of what you need before bed.
Make sure that the room you are sleeping in is a comfortable temperature, suitably dark, quiet and that you feel safe and secure. Your environment can affect how well you sleep. You will have probably experienced trying to sleep on a train, it seems almost impossible and when you do eventually drift off you rarely sleep well. This is because you are subconsciously worried about missing your stop, the lights are too bright, it is loud and it is uncomfortable. Tossing and turning throughout the night because your room is too hot will interrupt your sleep, as will waking up every time a car with headlights on pulls into your street if you don’t have a good pair of curtains. Make your sleeping environment the best it can be to help you get a brilliant night's sleep.
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