Words: Viola Levy
Many of us might be struggling to sleep at the moment, being bombarded with negative news, or having work and money troubles playing on our minds. But decent shuteye is so important for both our physical and mental health (not to mention a healthy immune system). So make sure you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, as recommended by The Sleep Council. Here are some easy tips to try and help your mind switch off at the end of the day, so when you turn out the lights, you’re not wide-awake and staring at the ceiling...
Exercise at least once a day
Physical activity – even if it’s ten minutes of walking or cycling a day – can hugely benefit the quality of sleep you’re getting. Exercise reduces stress levels, especially if you’re getting out in nature by going for a walk in your local park. What’s more, aerobic activity raises our body temperature slightly, which then causes it to drop later on in the day. This triggers our brain into entering ‘sleep mode’ making nodding off less of an issue.
Don’t go to bed at random times each night
If you’re working from home, it might be tempting to stay up late and have a little lie-in. But not sticking to the same sleep schedule could disrupt your body clock, causing a mild ‘jetlag’ effect – that means grogginess, tiredness and irritability! To ensure your brain knows that it’s time to go to sleep, make sure bedtime is roughly around the same hour each night.
Start winding down a few hours before bed
Instead of watching The News at Ten or scrolling through the Twitter feed of doom, doing something of an evening that relaxes your mind will stop it from racing once your head hits the pillow. Step away from your screens and take a soak in the tub with Bayliss & Harding’s aptly-named Happy Hour Bubble Bath and a good book!
Turn your bedroom into a haven of calm!
Make sure your bedroom sanctuary for sleep, free of clutter and one that your brain associates with relaxation – which is why you should NOT be working from your laptop in bed! Scenting your sleep space with ME.’s Tranquil Candle (with relaxing essential oils) or a few spritzes of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on your bed sheets will also help you drift off.
Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
It’s so easy to just pop the kettle on or have a cheeky glass of wine while you watch TV of an evening – especially if you’re trying to relax. Sadly stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can be really disruptive to your natural sleep cycle. So try and have your last coffee or tea at least eight hours before you go to bed. And while that nightcap might help you fall asleep initially, the alcohol can kick in later on in the night, causing you to be wide-awake at around 3am. A cup of warm milk and honey is a much more effective bedtime drink. (The honey can curb any hunger pangs during the night!)