When it comes to maintaining a good level of health, there are few things as effective as a good night’s sleep. Helping your body to recharge and your brain to rest, sleep is a time in which you undergo essential repairs, refueling yourself for the pressures of the coming day. When you don’t get enough sleep, things can start to go a little haywire and before long, you might find your focus waning, irritability rising and your feelings of wellness plummeting. If you’re struggling with sleep, you might feel tempted to reach for the medicine cabinet but thanks to mother nature, it is easier than ever to rest more soundly without the need of extra chemicals.
- SWITCH OFF
The glow from your phone, computer or television has been proven to interfere negatively with your brain’s ability to switch off at the end of the day. While the blue light might help to illuminate your device more effectively, it can also turn off melatonin production in your brain, a hormone which triggers feelings of wanting to sleep. If you’re feeling stressed and wired after a long day, try turning off all your devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Your mind will have time to decompress and you will feel undeniably more fresh come the morning.
- MAKE A NEST
Comfort is the key to a great night’s sleep and if you’re finding you cannot switch off when the lights go out, it could be all down to your environment. Rooms ideal for sleeping are often cool, dark and quiet, void of any device or object that is likely to rouse your from your sleep. If you cannot turn off, try putting in a fan, installing blackout blinds or changing your mattress. The more comfortable and calm you feel, the better the quality your sleep will be.
- EXERCISE OFTEN
One of the keys to falling asleep when night time comes around is tiring yourself out sufficiently in the day. With the majority of us sitting at a desk for hours during the working day, however, our bodies are rarely subjected to the kinds of activity we need to fall asleep, making for a much more restless night’s sleep. If you consistently struggle to switch off, try incorporating brisk exercise into your day, like going for a lunch time walk, or biking to work. The more you move your body, the easier it will be to drop off during the night.
- LIMIT NAPS
By the time 4pm rolls around, you might feel like you can’t keep your eyes open and while going for a nap is ok every now and then, frequently falling asleep during the day can really impact your ability to sleep later on. If you really need to nap, limit yourself to between 10 and 30 minutes per day, at some point in the mid-afternoon. Any more often, and you risk interfering with your body’s natural sleep patterns.
- CUT OUT THE CAFFEINE
Caffeine might be something that helps to fuel your mornings but drink it past a certain point, and you could be awake long into the night. As a general rule, cutting out caffeine-loaded drinks past 1pm will help your body to switch off later in the day and undergo a more relaxing night’s sleep. It’s not just coffee that you should avoid, either; foods like chocolate can contain hidden quantities of the stuff, keeping you awake for longer than you would like.