Us chaps spend around one third of our lives sleeping. Given this it is hardly surprising to hear that sleep plays an important role in maintaining our bodies. Some relatively small changes to your lifestyle can often make a world of a difference when it comes to getting plenty of good quality sleep.
Failure to consistently get a proper night’s sleep prevents you from making the most of your waking hours.
Here’s our top ten sleeping tips so you can learn how to sleep better for longer.
1. Stick to a sleep routine
Give yourself roughly the same wake and sleep times everyday including on the weekends. Doing so will allow your body to become familiar with its sleep-wake cycle and enable it to improve sleep quality. Obviously there will be times when you might have to break this habit but the more closely you are able to stick to it the better.
2. Cut out excessive physical and mental activities before bed
In the non-stop modern world many sleep problems are caused by people's inability to switch off. Avoid anything that stimulates you physically or mentally too close to bedtime. That means no fast paced video games or action films, workouts, late night work, etc. as these may raise your heart rate or adrenaline levels. Your body needs to be relaxed enough before you can fall asleep so spend your time doing activities that help you achieve this state. Talk with your flatmate or partner, read a book, write your to-do list for the following day, take a warm bath, meditate or listen to gentle music.
3. Have a wind down hour
A great way to ensure that you are relaxed enough by the time you go to bed is to have a wind down hour. Essentially this is a period of time in which you get your body into a relaxed enough state for you to sleep. Turn off all digital devices including phones, tablets and TVs, dim the lights, and gradually wind your mind and body down.
4. Find time to relax throughout the day
For a better night’s sleep you should find time to relax throughout the day not just in the period before sleep. Relaxing will enable you to lower your stress levels and tension which should allow you to have less difficulty falling asleep. For example, you can meditate or practice yoga before work, go for a leisurely walk or swim during your lunch break, or read a relaxing book in the evening.
5. Create a comfortable sleep environment
Make sure the environment in your room is conducive for you to get a good night’s sleep. The room should be a comfortable temperature, tidy, quiet and dark. Your mattress should be firm, your pillow soft and your bed sheets cosy.
If you struggle to keep the room dark or quiet then consider investing in blackout curtains or double glazing. Alternatively eye masks and earplugs can be very useful. Hot water bottles can also be great for warming up your bed and making it more cosy for when you enter.
The focus of your bedroom should be sleeping so consider removing distractions such as televisions and mobile phones. If you use your phone as an alarm try an old school alarm.
6. Try chamomile or other herbs to relax you
Chamomile and other herbs can act as mild sedatives helping to calm you down and aide sleeping. If chamomile isn’t for you then alternatives you can try include mint, ginger, orange peels, lime peels, honey, anise, lemon, chive, celery seed and decaffeinated forms of tea and coffee. You can buy herbal teabags from pretty much any shop but if you are looking for something a little fancier you can purchase the dried herbs and add boiling water.
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way to relieve some of the built up stress and tension as well as improve sleep quality. Studies have shown that active people are able to fall asleep more easily and sleep better. But don’t do any strenuous exercise such as running or heavy weights too close to bedtime as it may make it difficult to sleep.
8. Eat the right foods
Observe eating anything substantial within 3 hours before you intend to sleep. Alcohol and foods containing the protein tyrosine can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Tyrosine stimulates the release of dopamine and adrenaline boosting your mind and alertness. Foods rich in tyrosine include cheese, red wine, yogurt, milk, cream, processed meats, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and aubergine.
Complex carbohydrates such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables eaten 2-4 hours before bedtime can have the effect of promoting sleep. That is because they tend to give a quick boost of energy, followed by a crash after which you are tired and lethargic.
9. Avoid caffeine
This is perhaps one of the most obvious tips in any how to sleep better guide. Reduce your consumption of caffeinated products such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, cocoa, chocolate and soft drinks especially in the evening. Caffeine disrupts your body’s ability to fall asleep and reach a state of deep sleep. Good alternatives are herbal teas and hot water.
10. Keep a sleep diary
Track your sleep patterns and behaviours in a sleep diary. This will make it is easier to identify what is causing your sleep problems and is likely to be used by a doctor or sleep expert should you ever get to that stage to help you improve sleep quality.
Each day write down answers to questions concerning last night such as:
- What time did you go to bed?
- How long did it take you to fall asleep?
- How many times did you wake up during the night?
- How much time did you spend sleeping and awake?
- What time did you finally get up?
- Did you have a difficulty sleeping or difficulty falling asleep?
- On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the quality of your sleep?
Sleep plays a vital role for your body. Make sure you get all of yours so you can be at your best during the day.
Most of these sleeping tips should be fairly straightforward to implement and rely on stamina, perseverance and having a good routine. Start with the sleeping tips you think are easiest to implement but will have the most greatest impact.
If you have tried and exhausted most of these sleeping tips and are still having difficulty falling asleep or difficulty sleeping, you should arrange an appointment to see your doctor or a sleep specialist. They will be best placed to determine the cause of your sleep problems and provide guidance.
This article was created for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the views of For Chaps Ltd. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.