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10 Tips for A Good Night’s Sleep

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The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be understated. In Britain, the average adult sleeps just six hours per night which is below the recommended amount of seven to eight hours. Your body heals while you sleep, repairing everything from muscles to neurotransmitters. Your heart and other organs depend on sleep to rest and repair themselves, which means that taking steps to get a good night’s sleep can transform our health and wellbeing. 

Everyone needs a good night’s sleep regularly, however, it can sometimes feel hard to achieve amid the pressures of daily life. To help, we have these top ten tips on how to get a natural good night’s sleep.

1. Get into a routine.

Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Going to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning allows your body to programme itself to fall asleep and wake at a particular time naturally. 

2. Take time to relax

Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode. Having a relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime, whether it’s a warm bath, reading, meditation, listening to soothing music or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. For maximum benefit, try to get your activity during the day or about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed. Performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.

4. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs, and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep. Avoid all of these things at least 6 to 8 hours before sleeping if you want a good night’s sleep. Also, try to avoid eating any large meal within two hours of bedtime.

5. Food and drink for sleeping 

Many chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones work together to promote good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle. These include Almond seeds, which contain high doses of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. Milk, which includes four sleep-promoting compounds: tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin. Kiwifruit which contains many sleep-promoting compounds: melatonin, anthocyanins, flavonoids, caronoids, potassium, magnesium, folat and calcium. Chamomile tea is a traditional remedy for insomnia.

6. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening

Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, however light exposure during the night has the opposite effect due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Try to avoid blue light — which electronic devices like smartphones and computers, televisions emit in large amounts before heading to bed as this reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep. 

7. Control your sleeping environment & temperature

It may sound common sense, but too much light and background noise can prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep. Ensure a dark, quiet environment whenever possible. For light and noise sources that you can’t control, eye masks or earplugs are wonderful investments. Ensure that your room is the right temperature – between 16 °C and 18 °C (60°F to 65°F) is optimum. A lack of clutter, along with pale colours and pleasant smells, such as lavender and geranium, can also help create a soothing setting. 

8. Avoid Day Time Naps 

If you sleep well, you shouldn’t need to nap anyway, but if you’re struggling without your 40 winks, set the alarm for a max of 60 minutes. If you sleep any longer, your body will start its deep sleep cycle, and you’ll wake up feeling groggy. Plus you’ll have trouble falling asleep at the appropriate time later.

9. Bed Quality 

Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your bed is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Also, look for a hypoallergenic comforter to protect the exterior of your bed, hypoallergenic material like peace silk or organic cotton with a high thread count can help remove allergens from your room and dramatically reduce their negative impact on your sleep.

10. Focus on sleep quality

We tend to focus on how long we’re asleep, but sleep quality is just as important. We go through five stages of sleep, which we experience in a cycle, around five times a night. During the later stages of the cycle, our memories are consolidated and information is processed, among other things. This means that getting up in the night, for example, to go to the loo, can interrupt the cycle and you might not reach the later stages. For this reason, it’s also best to avoid having too many liquids before going to bed.

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