If you’re tired of counting sheep or find that a glass of warm milk isn’t doing the job then why not try one or all of these 7 simple tips that should help improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Keep clear of caffeine
It’s no secret that drinks containing caffeine can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Many of us think that cutting out a cup of tea or coffee just before bed will make a drastic improvement to our quality of sleep. The truth is that caffeine can stay in our systems for as long as 8 hours after consumption so even afternoon drinks can have a negative impact on our sleep. Your best option is to try to avoid drinks containing caffeine after 2pm.
2. Choose your evening meals wisely
Eating too much late in the evening can really disrupt our sleep but there are foods which can actually help you feel sleepy. When choosing your evening meal or late night snack opt for healthy food containing carbohydrates, protein and most importantly tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which your body converts to serotonin (a chemical that promotes sleep) and is found in food such as yoghurt, fish, bananas and peanuts.
3. Avoid alcohol
Even though alcohol can make some of us feel tired and sleepy it has a negative impact on your quality of sleep once you drift off. If you feel a glass of wine after a hard day at work is unavoidable try to drink earlier in the evening rather than late at night. Doing so will allow the effects of the alcohol to wear off thus improving your chances of a good night’s sleep.
4. Say yes to a long, hot soak
Taking a hot bath or shower in the evening can make you feel relaxed and help your body to get ready for bed. This is due to your body temperature decreasing once you get out of the tub.
5. Practice gentle exercise and stretching
Low impact exercise such as yoga can also help you to relax before you go to bed. You can also practise 10-20 minutes of stretching which will relieve tension and clear your mind of the day’s events. When using exercise to aid with sleep try to avoid anything too intense which get your heart racing as this will have the opposite effect.
6. Dim the Lights
Exposing yourself to bright lights in the evening will trick your body into thinking it’s much earlier than it actually is making it more difficult to feel sleepy. This is because bright lights reduce the amount of sleep-promoting chemicals your body releases. It’s a good idea to set the mood an hour or two before bedtime, this means drawing the curtains and dimming the lights.
7. Remove electronic devices
According to the Koala 4 Sleep Hacks, the light emitted by our favourite gadgets have a negative effect on our ability to fall asleep. Not only does being on your phone or sending emails distract you and keep you awake for longer but using devices before bed can also increase the time it takes for your brain to switch off and fall to sleep. If possible turn all of your electronic devices off a couple of hours before you would like to go to bed to allow your mind to fully relax.
So what are you waiting for? Incorporating just one of these easy to follow tips into your evening routine could make a huge difference to your sleeping habits and provide you with a more peaceful night, every night.