Often struggle to catch your Zzzs? Or just can't sleep on a regular basis? Our advice on how to sleep should get you there in a tick. After all, life is busy, and our brains aren’t always as keen as we are to switch off. Why is it always at 2am that the weirdest of questions come into our heads?
Anyway, we all know how frustrating it is to not get your eight to nine hours in, but you are not alone. With around 22 per cent* of Brits struggling to fall asleep every night and 15 per cent of people having difficulty sleeping on a weekly basis, it's something that needs to be sorted.
We’ve rounded up nine new-age tricks to help you get your forty-winks and for more info on how to sleep well you can check out our dedicated page.
*Stats from linenbundle.com.
Enjoy the daylight hours
This can be one of the trickiest tips to put into practice over the winter months, but exposing your body to daylight during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm in check – your internal body clock will better understand when it’s time to be alert, and when it’s time to snooze.
The best way to do this, is simply to get out and about as much as you can when it's light; then in the evening, start dimming the lights around your home a couple of hours before bed. Always avoid checking your phone, or turn the brightness down so that your body begins adjusting to the chill-out mode that you need to fall asleep more easily.
Step up and exercise
Sticking to the ol’ 10,000 steps a day on top of your usual routine is a good guideline to live by to ensure that you're using enough energy over the course of the day! A fitness tracker is, of course, the ultimate way to stay on track and with these nifty gadgets you can even track your sleeping pattern. Bonus.
If you're feeling restless and missed the chance to go for a run, then a little meditation or gentle yoga is a great move to create a sense of calm and harmony in yourself to help you sleep.
Choose the right foods
Things to avoid are high-carb foods (sad times), unless you’re eating about 4 hours before bed, sugar (also fairly annoying), caffeine (wah), and alcohol (enough said). But it’s not all about what you can’t eat – there are lots of foods and drinks that can help promote sleep due to their dense nutritional value, and high percentage of various vitamins and minerals, all of which all play a role in better sleep. Add these to your shopping list:
- Nuts, almonds especially contain phosphorus, manganese, riboflavin and magnesium – the latter is good at improving sleep quality – and walnuts contain the hormone melatonin which is also said to help regulate sleep
- Turkey, is high in protein so it’s a good appetite regulator and it’s also full of phosphorus, selenium and amino acid tryptophan that support the production of melatonin also
- Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel and trout – all delicious – and all full of vitamin D which can increase serotonin production and therefore, the all-important Zzzs
- Herbal teas, chamomile, contains apigenin which is said to help reduce insomnia and passionflower tea can help reduce anxiety
- Kiwis contain serotonin, the happy brain chemical that can effectively regulate sleep so one or two before bed could help you fall asleep quicker and for longer.
- Bananas, contain magnesium and tryptophan
Hone in on your home's feng shui
Ensuring that your space – especially your bedroom – is clean and clutter free is a surefire way to help you feel balanced and more likely to dose off happy. Opt to clean your home naturally for bonus points.
Feng shui is also about room layout and the position you take when in that space. Look to position your bed so that you can see the door, without facing it, to be in the 'commanding position' which is where you want to be to receive positive and restful energy. Perfect sleep surroundings.
For an even more zen ambience, consider diffusing essential oils around your home – especially in your bedroom – to help relieve any evening anxieties that can disrupt your sleeping pattern. There have been different studies to support the thought that essential oils like lavender, cedarwood and bergamot can improve sleep quality and the likelihood of dozing off quickly. So it’s worth topping up your diffusers with natural blends that contain one of the above.
Be cool and comfortable
Investing in chic and breathable pjs and one thing, but investing in the best mattress for you, that actually suits how you sleep is beyond important. There are so many amazing varieties available now that no sleeping position is too awkward to please, and this is one sure-fire way to help you settle down for a great night’s sleep.
Avoid staring at the clock and try not to stress about the fact you’re not sleeping, just practice a few of the above tips and see how you can lull yourself to sleep in seconds.