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6 top tips to improve your sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, we should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night yet only 1 in 3 of us actually manage this.  Sleep issues are really common.  You may have difficulty in falling asleep or maybe you drop off easily but then wake often during the night and can’t get back to sleep. 

Not getting a good night’s sleep can have a big impact on us-it can make you moody and irritable, reduce your ability to cope with stress and leave you craving sugary and high carb foods for both comfort and as a ‘pick-me-up’.   During sleep, our brains sort out information that we’ve taken in, storing some away and discarding other bits, making space for new information-it’s a bit like a hard drive that needs clearing!  Not getting adequate quantity and quality of sleep can leave your brain feeling foggy and affect your memory and concentration.

 

#1 Turn your mobile phone to ‘night mode’

All phones have a setting that enables the phone to go into night mode.  This switches the colour of the screen at sunset and reduces the amount of ‘blue light’ from your phone.  Blue light stimulates the brain and can interfere with your ability to get off to sleep.

 

#2 Switch your mobile off at least an hour before going to bed

Ok, so there may be a few of you that really do need to be available and for which this isn’t possible but for most of us, it is.  Ask yourself, do I really need to be available 24/7?  If your phone is on, then you’ll definitely be checking it just before you go to bed (even if it’s just to turn it off!) and that in itself starts the brain ticking which inevitably interferes with sleep.

 

#3 If you use your mobile phone as an alarm-stop! 

By using your mobile as an alarm you’ll be looking at it right up until you go to bed and quite possibly though the night, if only to check what the time is.  Again, this will stimulate your brain and interfere with sleep.  If this is you, go out and buy an alarm clock (yes, remember those things that used to sit next to the bed?) as soon as you can.

 

#4 Check the room temperature

When we lie down, our body temperature decreases to initiate sleep-think of it as having an internal thermostat.  If we get too warm, we wake up.  The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius).  Try tuning the radiator down in the bedroom or go for lighter bedding to keep your body temperature down and get a better night’s sleep.

 

#5 Take a hot bath or shower before bedtime

This can be really effective in helping you to sleep.  When you step out of it, the sudden drop in temperature mimics the body’s method of decreasing temperature and so can help you nod off.

 

#6 Cut out caffeinated drinks in the afternoon. 

Caffeine has a half-life of around 5-6 hours which means that it takes that long to get half of the caffeine you’ve had out of your system.  So, drinking caffeinated drinks late in the afternoon can have a significant impact on your ability to nod off and the quality of your sleep.  Instead, opt for decaffeinated drinks or herbal teas.  Valerian and chamomile are both herbs that help with relaxation and can be a good option for an evening drink.

Sweet dreams!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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