Sleep is one of the most important public health issues of the modern era. A lot of people don’t get enough if it, and this has a knock-on effect on their general health and every other area of their lives – but getting to sleep doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you need to sort out your sleeping schedule, try these five tips for a good night:
Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day
If you tend to have an after-dinner coffee, try switching to decaf or substituting a soothing herbal tea. If you drink lots of caffeine at work, give yourself a cut-off time that allows your body time to recover. Caffeine can stay in your system for at least five or six hours, and possibly much longer, so count back from your planned bedtime and make sure your last caffeine fix is significantly before that.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Many electronics give off a type of illumination called blue light. Light at this frequency can boost the brainwaves that keep you more alert, and suppress the ones that lead to calm sleep. Even if it’s tempting to have a last scroll through social media before bed, try to resist, and see if you can cut down your use of electronics in the evening generally. Sitting down with a book or a craft project will get your brain ready for sleep.
Optimise Your Bedroom Environment
Feeling calm and comfortable in your room can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep. Keep your bedroom as peaceful as possible, and if you can manage it, don’t use your sleeping space for anything else during the day. Make sure your bed is comfortable and fresh – check out this helpful guide for more information on duvets, and think about splashing out on some new pillows too if yours are a little tired.
Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Eating late at night can give you a burst of energy, which is bad news for nodding off, and lying down right after eating can cause discomfort and even heartburn. Plus, the rise in blood sugar and subsequent crash can lead to a bad night’s sleep and a morning of feeling groggy and low on energy. If you’re hungry at bedtime, eat as lightly as possible.
Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times
Your body clock thrives on routine. If you tend to just go to bed when you feel like it, and get up whenever you happen to be awake, try setting yourself a challenge to maintain a regular bedtime for a week, and see if it makes a difference. Set your alarm for the same time every morning, and don’t press the snooze button. You could even try a sleep tracking app.
Making these five simple changes can really have an impact on the quantity and quality of your sleep, and your waking hours will be more productive and enjoyable as a result. Pleasant dreams!