Sleep is vital for our body’s performance and is critical for a healthy lifestyle. It is just as important as getting regular exercise and a balanced diet, and a poor sleep pattern can affect exercise performance, brain function and hormone levels.
Constantly getting poor sleep can also lead to weight gain and an increased risk of diseases. The advantages of getting a good night’s sleep are clear, but it is often easier said than done. Many adults struggle to sleep well, but there are a few tips to help you doze off easily and improve your overall sleep quality;
Set A Bedtime And Prioritise Sleep
One of the biggest problems when it comes to sleep is that you simply aren’t getting enough of it. It is recommended that a healthy adult gets between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and many people feel they don’t have time for this. The key thing to remember is that sleep should always be your priority.
Set yourself a dedicated bedtime and work out the ideal time by counting back 8 hours from when you need to get up in the morning. Being consistent and prioritising sleep over other activities will reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Reduce Phone Use
Devices such as mobile phones, tablets, computers and TVs can all have a significant impact on your sleep. Try to limit your phone use one hour before going to bed in order to get the best possible sleep quality. All these devices use blue light displays which are known to suppress melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you to sleep and is vital for a good night’s sleep.
For the hour before your bedtime, put your phone down, dim the lights and avoid bright lights and screens.
Be Careful With Caffeine
Caffeine is excellent for enhancing focus, boosting energy levels and improving sports performance. But as it is a stimulant, it can have a negative impact on your sleep. The half-life of caffeine is roughly 8 hours, which means if you are going to bed at 10 pm and have a coffee at 2 pm, half the caffeine will still be in your system at bedtime.
Some people are far less tolerant to caffeine than others, so know your own caffeine sensitivity and try to avoid coffee in the afternoon.
Clear Your Mind
Relaxing and calming your mind before going to sleep is excellent for improving sleep quality. By creating a pre-sleep routine, you will be better able to relax and doze off easily. Common techniques for clearing the mind and preparing for sleep include reading, drawing, a warm bath, meditation or planning for tomorrow.
Watch Out For Food And Drink Before Bed
Eating late in the evening can have a negative impact on melatonin levels, the natural release of HRH and overall sleep quality. Give your body at least one hour to properly digest your meal before going to bed. It is also important to be mindful of how much you are drinking before bed in order to decrease your chances of waking during the night.
Don’t Work Out Late
A good exercise routine is proven to improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of insomnia. However, exercising too late in the day can cause issues with sleep. Exercise is a stimulant and a late-night workout will increase alertness and make falling asleep more difficult. Try to fit your workouts in earlier in the day to truly optimise sleep.
Prepare Your Space
Your sleeping environment is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Your bedroom should be a relaxing, clean and enjoyable space in order for you to sleep well. Try to declutter and tidy your bedroom before you sleep, as a messy room can hinder relaxation. Ensure your bed, pillow and duvets are comfortable and sheets are clean. Optimise your sleeping space by cutting out light with dark curtains in the summer and do what you can to minimise external noise.
Wake Up Gently
How you wake up can also have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. A loud, harsh alarm clock can disturb deep sleep abruptly and cause issues with your sleeping patterns. Choose an alarm that wakes you up slowly and gently such as a Lumie Clock. There are also various apps for your phone or smartwatch which can wake you up gently in the best sleep stage.
Magnesium is responsible for over 600 reactions in your body and is proven to help enhance sleep quality and improve relaxation. Magnesium supplements can be taken to help you get a good night’s sleep, but remember they are not a magic remedy for curing sleep issues and should be used in combination with other sleep strategies.