Most of us know that a sleepless night can make us feel foggy, grumpy and irritable the next day, but you may surprised to find out that lack of sleep can also have a detrimental effect on your sex life, memory, health, looks and even your ability to lose weight.
Your sleeping schedule, bedtime routines and daily lifestyle choices all have a significant impact on whether or not your get a good night’s sleep. Follow the 10 simple tips below to get a good night’s sleep, so that you can be more productive, mentally astute, emotionally balanced and be full of energy during your waking hours.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule
Set a regular bed time and a regular waking time. Make sure you stick to this on the weekends too, otherwise you will feel tired for the days that follow. If you must adjust your bed time or waking time, try to adjust it by just 15 minutes each day until you reach your desired sleep/wake times.
Sleep only at night
Day time naps can upset your nighttime sleep routine. If you must have a nap limit it to 20-30 minutes at most.
Naturally regulate your sleep cycle using light
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is controlled by light exposure. The production of melatonin helps our bodies to regulate our sleep cycles. During waking hours, allow as much natural natural light into your home or office as possible. At night avoid bright lights and don’t use back-lit electronic devices such as tablets just before bed.
As little as 20-30 minutes of exercise per day can help you sleep better. Exercising in the morning or afternoon tends to be the best as aerobic exercise late at night can actually stimulate the body and make falling asleep more difficult.
Stay away from large meals in the evening. In particular, avoid fatty, heavy or rich foods for the two hours leading up to bed time. If you do feel hungry before bed, opt for a light snack such as half a sandwich or a small bowl of cereal.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine can not only keep you awake, it also acts as a diuretic, which means extra trips to the bathroom during the night.
Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it significantly reduces sleep quality, making you wake up more frequently.
The nicotine from cigarettes acts as a stimulant which can make falling asleep difficult. Smokers are also likely to experience nicotine withdrawal throughout the night, resulting in disturbed sleep patterns.
Create a relaxing bed time environment
Make sure noise levels are low, the bed is comfortable and the room is kept slightly cool. Also make sure you reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. Doing work related activities from your bed will reduce your ability to ‘switch off’.
Keep your anxiety and stress levels under control
To help yourself unwind from a busy day, try some simple but effective relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relation and visualisation techniques.
Hopefully these tips will see you on your path to a good night sleep. If you suffer from persistent insomnia or daytime drowsiness, this may be indicative of other health issues and should not be ignored. If you continue to have trouble sleeping be sure to seek further guidance and advice from your relevant health professionals, such as your local GP or a sleep doctor.