Top Sleep Tips for a Restful Night
Good sleep is an essential foundation for positive mental and physical health. If you’re having trouble with sleep, it may mean that your nervous system is wound up and having trouble settling into a rest state. Our modern lifestyles tend to make it difficult to wind down and get proper deep rest. However, there are a number of things we can do to assist getting back into good sleep patterns. Its worth remembering that sleep is not just about what happens at night – it’s part of the overall daily rhythm of our bodies and what we do during waking hours is just as important.
Top Sleep Tips
1. Get some morning sunlight – morning sunlight helps set our body rhythms for wake and sleep.
2. Morning exercise – moving in the morning greatly assists sleep – even as little as 5 minutes or moderately vigorous exercise can help.
3. Notice your body's tiredness cues and go to bed when you feel them - don't push past them and stay up as it gets harder to wind down for sleep.
4. Have a consistent bedtime each night. Most people benefit from sleeping from around 10pm to 6am, though its worth noting that this is not true for everyone and some people naturally have different cycles. (You can learn more about this at: https://thepowerofwhenquiz.com)
5. Eat an early dinner. Your body will rest more easily if it has already digested your evening meal. This means not eating after 7-7.30pm, so your meal can be properly digested before sleep.
6. Create a bedtime routine. Having a routine assists the body to know the cues to wind down and sleep. Create a simple routine to use prior to sleeping, some things people find helpful are: having a bath or shower, writing or journaling, meditation or breathing relaxation, listening to relaxing music, drawing, gentle stretching, having a cup of herbal tea. Choose one or two relaxing things to do each night before sleep and make it the same routine each night.
7. Screen use is a major contributor to poor sleep. The light in screens suppresses melatonin, which we need for good sleep. However, there are some steps you can take to minimise screen use impacts on your sleep:
- You can set the screen brightness to switch to a darker setting after 7pm – this will minimise screen light stimulation.
- Shut off screens and devices a minimum of one hour before bed time.
- Get a clock for your bedroom and leave your phone in a separate room overnight or put it in a drawer.
8. Avoid or minimise caffeine intake. This can be hard when you are feeling tired, however, caffeine contributes to the cycle of sleep disruption. Any steps you can take to reduce caffeine will be beneficial. Green tea can be a helpful replacement as it contains much less caffeine that black tea or coffee. Sugar is also best avoided, especially before bed, as blood sugar levels can also be a sleep disruptor,
9. Take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is needed for the body and muscles to relax and many people are not getting enough - taking a supplement before bed can assist with relaxation and improve sleep quality. Other sleep supplements may also be beneficial.
10. Create or find a playlist of relaxing music to listen to before bed or do a guided relaxation or meditation for sleep.
11. Turn your bedroom into a 'sleep sanctuary' - make it an enjoyable, comfortable and relaxing space to be in.
12. Massage areas of tension in the body, or use hot water bottles to relax muscles.
13. Work on reducing the overall stress in your day, so there is less built up activation in your nervous system.
If you're feeling tired, its worth trying to put in place some of these strategies, as being well rested will improve all areas of your life and your health