Things you can do to get better sleep

by Polly N on January 27, 2014

I never sleep very well away from home and this week has been no different. I’m currently staying in a lovely hotel in Germany with my Mum but we haven’t ventured out much as the temperature outside ranges from around 2degrees to minus silly and the snow is falling.

There’s nothing better than a brisk walk to aid sleep but I thought I’d write about all the other factors that are important to getting a good night’s kip.

iLovesleep

Here are a number of things to take into consideration if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep:

Keep a regular schedule

By going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, you keep in sync with your body’s circadian rhythm.  So set a regular bed time and stick to it.

During the day, get outside

Increase your exposure to natural sunlight  during the daylight hours and try to do at least 20 minutes of exercise.

Sleep in complete darkness.

Any leakage of light into your sleeping area disrupts your brains production of melatonin which is responsible for helping you to sleep and significantly reduces your risk of developing cancer. Studies also show light leakage can lead to weight gain as sleep deprivation can lead to you eating more sweet and starchy foods.

Take a sniff on some lavender

I carry lavender essential oil everywhere because it is calming, decreases heart rate and lowers blood pressure. It also has sedative properties so pop a few drops in an oil burner or diffuser 30 minutes before you go to sleep. But make sure you blow out the candle before you hit the sack!

Don’t eat too late and choose your foods wisely

  • I’ve gone to bed on a full stomach a few times and it’s not a nice feeling.  Likewise, don’t go to bed starving hungry either as that will keep you awake.
  • Fatty foods take a lot of effort to digest and will keep you awake so avoid eating them at least 2 hours before bed.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before bed as although a little nightcap may help you to nod off, it reduces your quality of sleep and will likely wake you up in the middle of the night.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake as it can cause problems sleeping even 10-12 hours after drinking it.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts your sleep and may wake you with cravings in the night.

Create a relaxing sleeping environment

  • Make sure you have a comfortable bed
  • Keep your bedroom cool

Create a relaxing routine

  • Turn off all electrical devices before bed and don’t go to sleep with the TV on. This messes with your melatonin levels.
  • Read a book by a soft light to send you off
  • Take a warm bath
  • Do 10 minutes of meditation so you’re in a more relaxed state

Try taking herbal supplement Valerian

Valerian has a calming effect and can make you drowsy helping you to sleep. Note: pregnant & nursing mums should avoid this due to lack of research.

And here are a few more ideas…

10 ways to get better sleep

What are your top tips to getting better sleep?

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