During these uncertain times, it’s not surprising that many of us might be struggling to get a good night’s sleep and yet we all know how important sleep is. Not just so we feel rested and refreshed for the day ahead, but sleeping well can help stave off chronic illnesses such as heart attacks and dementia as well as helping you keep slim, have more focus and be more productive.
If you’re finding it hard to switch off at the moment, try one or all of these 5 strategies to slip into sounder sleep and reap the wellbeing benefits.
1. Have a consistent bed time - by going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time you will start to train your body to drift off quicker and easier.
2. Have a ‘no screens two hours before bed rule’- two reasons for this: firstly you don’t want to be stewing over an email or something on social media, but more importantly your devices emit a blue light which tricks the mind into thinking it’s morning by supressing your sleep hormone, melatonin.
3. Chill out – a cooler bedroom will help to reduce your core temperature which has been proven to help aid in more restful slumber. By washing your face at night, the water will cool your face and hands which helps to reduce your temperature.
4. Create a sleep sanctuary – the brain makes powerful associations so ideally there are only two activities that should occur in the bedroom, sleep and romance. Keep all devices, laptops, TV’s and tablets out of your sleep sanctuary, otherwise you will start to associate your bedroom with work, social media and other stresses and strains.
5. Track your sleep – an app such as Sleep Cycle will help you to find out which strategies work best for you by not only monitoring how long you were asleep but also the actual quality of your sleep. Sometimes seven hours of good quality sleep is better than eight hours of poor quality. The app also helps you to stick to a consistent pattern and even tracks how long you snore!
Further reading for even more science-backed tips and tricks:
- Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
- The 4 Pillars plan by Rangan Chattergee
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD