Sleep is absolutely crucial to our wellbeing. Research shows after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. While we can cope fairly well with a day or two of late nights, regularly getting less than 7 hours sleep has a significant negative impact on performance. In this article
So what can you do to get more and better quality sleep? There are healthy habits you can adopt in order to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Get up at the same time every day
Wake up at the same time every day even when you have had a poor night’s sleep. This helps your body find a natural rhythm that will help you go to sleep at night.
Research shows that exercise improves sleep and helps sleep disorders such as insomnia. Exercising too close to bedtime though can sometimes inhibit sleep.
Spend time outside
Increasing the amount of time you spend outdoors can improve sleep quality, try and get out for a walk at some point in the day.
Look at your diet
Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, rich food or a heavy meal too near bedtime will affect your sleep. Try to cut down in the evenings or switch to decaf.
Have a wind down routine
Have an evening routine involving reading, having a bath, preparing for the next day. Try calming your mind by focusing on your breathing, or try a mindfulness or meditation app.
Reduce screen time
The blue light from your phone or laptop suppresses melatonin which affects your sleep. Turn screens off an hour before bedtime and keep electronics out of the bedroom, buy an alarm clock rather than charging your phone by your bed.
Create a sleep sanctuary
Your bedroom should be cool, dark and free from clutter, and your bed should be comfortable and supportive.
Waking up in the night
When you wake up at night, don’t allow your mind to start thinking. If you can’t get back to sleep get up, go to the loo, do something until you feel sleepy again – but keep the lights low. Reading can help as can writing down your thoughts on a notepad for the next day.
Try not to worry
Whilst having a routine is important for good sleep, try not to worry if life gets in the way and your sleep is affected. It’s possible to survive a period of poor sleep with no ill effects.
If you are having prolonged periods of interrupted or little sleep lasting more than a few weeks seek evidence based support from a health professional.
If you can’t sleep and need to talk contact LawCare in confidence on 0800 279 6888 or visit www.lawcare.org.uk to access live chat, email support and other resources.