Tips for sleeping well

by | 2 Jul 2023 | Mental Health, Wellbeing

Given the vital importance of sleep there are things we can do to improve the amount and quality of it.  Check the tips below.

Top tips for better sleep

We know that sometimes things happen in life that impact how much sleep we get and how easy we find getting and staying asleep, however, what we can do is ensure we have a sensible and practical approach to sleep by setting up helpful habits.

Likewise, even if we think we sleep well there are ways we can improve the quality of our sleep.

Given the vital importance of sleep there are steps we can take to improve ours and research shows ways we can do this.

  • Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day  It doesn’t have to be to the minute but keep as regular a routine as possible. Our body works in 24-hour cycles known as circadian rhythms (our body clock).  It is influenced by light and tied to the cycles of day and night.  Getting out of line with these has a negative impact on the overall quality of sleep.  It doesn’t work to cut back on sleep in the week and think you can catch up at the weekend.  Aim to get up around the same time each day even if you have a late night, to help maintain the natural body clock.
  • Get outside every day To help regulate our body clock we should aim for as much light as possible in the morning and as little light as possible later in the day. Aim to get outside in natural daylight for 30 minutes every day, the earlier in the day the better.  Alongside this lowering lighting in our surroundings and from devices, in the evening is helpful.
  • Reduce caffeine consumption. This doesn’t mean eliminating caffeine it means being more aware of when we drink it during the day. Caffeine stays in our body for much longer than realised.  Caffeine after 2pm will be affecting your sleep.  It works as a stimulant by blocking a chemical crucial for sleep.  However, the body continues to produce it which explains why we crash after the initial boost from caffeine and feel even more exhausted. Select caffeine free drinks later in the day.
  • Make time to unwind   As far as practical create a routine that allows you to de-stress from the day before going to bed, maybe read or listen to music. Maybe you decide you will go to bed at a certain time but by the time you have done all those last minute jobs you have already lost some of your allocated sleep time? Create a routine to do these earlier. Also avoid anything that might increase emotions, stress, or worry like watching the news or a high action programme last thing in the evening.
  • Avoid technology   Late night scrolling is not good for our sleep. A combination of stimulating the brain when it should be unwinding and the light from our devices significantly reduces the quality of our sleep.  Keep them away from the area where you sleep.  Challenge yourself whether your phone really needs to be in your bedroom.  Buy an alarm clock, charge it downstairs, etc. Often we feel we need the phone near us for emergencies but I encourage you to challenge yourself on this – are there ways round it? 
  • Eat earlier   Our body follows its natural cycle as discussed earlier. This includes being more efficient at digesting food during daylight hours.  We want our body to be calm and resting for sleep.  Eating late means indigestion can get in the way of sleep.
  • Cut down on alcohol    People may think they sleep well after drinking alcohol. They may fall asleep quickly, but it affects the sleep cycle meaning we wake more often and miss out on the healing sleep.

The changes we make will depend on our life for example shift working or young children will impact our sleep.  The important thing to remember is finding the best way for you to make getting enough, quality sleep a priority.

If you missed the first blog in the series on the importance of sleep you can read it here.  Do identify ways to build better sleep into your wellbeing plan join one of the free Self-Care Power Hour sessions.





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