Common sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits reinforced over the years. A few small adjustments to your lifestyle - and your bedroom - can make a big difference.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Develop a bedtime routine that has your body – and mind – ready for sleep. Common sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits reinforced over the years. A few small adjustments to your lifestyle – and your bedroom – can make a big difference.
Top tips to create an ideal sleep setting:
- Set the atmosphere – Make sure your room is cool, dark, and quiet. If it’s hard to control factors like noise or outside light, try ear plugs or a sleeping mask
- Schedule worry time – Do you use bedtime to run through your daily worries? Try doing your worrying elsewhere for a set amount of time, before you hit the bedroom. You could even try writing it down to help you let go of any stressors
- Keep your sleep space sacred – try not to use your bedroom for watching TV or talking on the phone. Your mind can associate it with activity rather than sleep
- Swap screens for sleep-inducing activities - the bright screens of phones and computers are rich in blue light, which can reduce the release of melatonin (an important hormone for sleep). Instead of using your phone before bed, why not try reading a book?
- Relax – There are lots of good ways to relax; some ideas to get started with include deep breathing, a warm bath to ease tension, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation in which you tense and relax each part of your body starting at the toes and working up. Alternatively try a calming music playlist or wind down by listening to a podcast – millions of people listen to “Sleep with Me”, an intentionally boring podcast that helps send listeners quickly to sleep – download it here.
“I still can’t get to sleep”
If you haven’t fallen asleep within a reasonable amount of time, get out of bed and do something different for half an hour e.g. reading. This will help to take the pressure off ‘getting to sleep’ and hopefully help you to feel tired again.
“I can’t keep away from my phone at night”
If you’re struggling to remove screens from your bedtime routine, at the very least try to ensure you are using ‘night mode’ (most smart phones have a setting that reduces the amount of blue light they emit). Another idea is charging your phone at the other side of the bedroom so you can’t access it once you’re in bed!
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
Exercise can help to improve both the quality and quantity of sleep; it increases time spent in deep sleep, the most restorative phase of sleep, and can help you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day. Not to mention it can be a great stress buster.
Ways to boost your sleep with exercise:
- Morning jogs can boost deep sleep – but be careful of anything too vigorous as your muscles won’t have had a chance to warm up yet
- Aerobic or resistance exercise – sleep promoting effects have been found for all types of exercise – as long as you do it consistently!
- Yoga can be good for body and mind - Exercise can help the body and mind. Yoga, in particular, can help lower feelings of stress
- Avoid exercise just before bed – it can raise the heart rate, body temperature, and may make you feel more alert, which may have negative effects on sleep
- Make it regular – research indicates that exercise that’s part of a consistent routine in the right intensity and right time can help boost sleep duration
- Don’t go overboard – too much exercise can actually lead to sleeping difficulties. Approximately 30 minutes exercise a day is recommended for healthy adults.
“I prefer to exercise in the evening”
If you can’t avoid exercising late in the day, don’t fret. Try a longer cool down and gentle stretching session afterwards to help your body wind down.
“I can’t fit exercise in every day”
You don’t necessarily need to hit the gym to get your daily activity. Every little bit counts. Why not take the stairs instead of the lift? Walk instead of getting the bus. Or do a short yoga routine in your living room.
Want more help to put these tips into practice?
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