Along with nutrition and exercise, taking care of your sleep is one of the pillars of health.
Lack of sleep is associated with many negative health effects, including increased risk of heart disease, depression, weight gain, inflammation, and sickness.
You should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.
If you struggle to get that amount here’s 12 tips to help you can a better night’s sleep:
1. Don't Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if large amounts are consumed in the late afternoon or evening.
2. Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps
While short "power naps" have been proven beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal body clock, meaning you may struggle to
sleep at night.
3. Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid in sleep quality in the long-term.
Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle, especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.
4. Don't Drink Alcohol
Drinking a couple of alcoholic drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnoea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.
5. Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
Try to optimise your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise and making it a generally relaxing environment. Keep phones, TV’s, laptops out!
6. Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also huge impact on sleep quality. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. Around 20°C seems comfortable for most people.
7. Don't Eat Late in the Evening
Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, eating carbs a few hours before bed may help.
8. Relax and Clear Your Mind in the Evening
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia. It’s no coincidence that I always sleep better after my yoga class on a Monday night.
9. Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower
A warm bath, shower or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
10. Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and Pillow
Some people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel. Well, apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also have an effect. Research shows that your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high-quality mattress and bedding every 5–8 years.
11. Exercise Regularly, But Not Before Bed
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep, and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia. Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night's sleep.
12. Don't Drink Any Liquids Before Bed
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to trips to the bathroom during the night, therefore interrupting your sleep. Although hydration is really important, it is wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
If you’re interested in finding out more about sleep and how you can improve it you can download my free ebook ‘The Sleep Survival Guide’ here…