10 simple tips for a good night’s sleep

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Are you tired of tossing and turning all night, getting up in the mornings feel like you barely slept at all?

Or if you’re anything like me, you lie awake in the middle of the night watching the clock and thinking about how little time there is left before you have to be up, and how it’s getting smaller and smaller.

You’re not alone.

Quality sleep is so important for both physical and mental wellbeing, but it can be really hard to come by.

And did you know, the impact of sleep on mental health can exacerbate issues like anxiety and depression or lead to loss of energy, memory problems and impaired judgement?

That’s why it’s so important to make sure to try and get as much quality sleep as possible.

So, along with counting those age-old sheep, what else can we do to get a better night’s sleep?

I’ve collected 10 simple tips to help with better sleep habits.

1. Stick to a schedule

Apparently, just like babies, our bodies love routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up refreshed.

2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Wind down before bed with activities like reading, or taking a warm bath. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime, as the light can interfere with your body’s production of sleep-inducing hormones.

3. Optimise your sleep environment

Make your bedroom a sleep-friendly sanctuary. Try to keep it cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and consider blackout curtains to block out light and distractions.

4. Watch what you eat and drink

I am so guilty of not doing this one! I love a cuppa at bedtime, but switching to decaf or peppermint helps with falling asleep easier.

Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. While alcohol might initially make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep cycle later in the night. Opt for a light snack if you’re hungry, and limit fluids to cut down on those midnight bathroom trips.

5. Get moving during the day

Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. Try to aim to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise as many days of the week as possible – but avoid vigorous activity too close to bedtime, as it may energise you instead of helping you wind down.

6. Look after your mental health

Stress and anxiety don’t help with sleep at all. There are some relaxation techniques you could try to help with this, like deep breathing, meditation, or journaling to calm your mind before bed. You could also think about talking to a therapist if you’re struggling with persistent mental health issues that affect your sleep.

7. Not so much napping

While short nap can be rejuvenating, too much day sleep in the daytime can disrupt your nighttime sleep schedule. If you do need to nap, try and keep it to 20-30 minutes early in the afternoon.

8. Lower screen time

Guilty again! I often find myself endlessly scrolling on my phone while lying in bed, then wondering why I’m still so tired in the morning.

Some experts believe that the blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, and computers can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to limit screen time in the evening, and consider using apps or settings that reduce blue light exposure.

9. Enjoy the sunshine

I don’t know about you, but a bit of sun always makes me feel brighter inside.

Exposure to natural light during the day helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Try to spend time outdoors each day, especially in the morning, to signal to your body that it’s time to be awake.

10. Know when to seek help

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and still struggle with sleep issues that are impacting your daily life, not might be time to visit your GP and seek help from a professional. Sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea may require medical intervention to effectively manage, or if it’s stress and anxiety keeping you awake, your doctor can help you with finding a solution that works for you.

Better sleep can help you feel better both physically and mentally, so it’s worth experimenting to find what works best for you. Whether that’s leaving your phone out of reach at bedtime, skipping those late-night snacks (just me?) or simply getting into more of a routine, looking after your sleep is looking after yourself.

Read more: 12 tips for self care on a budget

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