As soon as things begin to feel settled there’s another change in what we can do, an extra pressure at work or just a change in dynamic at home adding an additional pressure that can reap havoc on the way we sleep. Getting enough sleep is the foundation of functioning successfully. A good night’s sleep has crucial benefits to making us feel positive, boosts our immunity, reduces stress, improves our memory and increases our productivity.
Check out our 20 ways to improve your sleep below:
- Blue light
We get blue light from electronic screens. White light suppresses the secretion of melatonin and blue light does this more intensely. Melatonin makes you sleep, without it we feel less drowsy and struggle to fall asleep. It’s recommended that at least 60 minutes before sleeping you refrain from using devices that produce blue light.
On the topic of melatonin, almonds are full of this hormone making them a great snack for encouraging good sleep. Kiwis also contain melatonin along with other vitamins that aid sleep - walnuts, cherries and fatty fish are on the list of foods for better sleep too!
- Food timing
The above foods have been in studies that show a small amount of them before sleep - around an hour - can improve the efficiency of our sleep. However, with other foods like a main dinner meal, nutritionists suggest leaving three hours before sleeping so your body has had time to digest. It’s not the best idea to sleep completely stuffed full!
- Wind-down routine
Routine. Routine. Routine. Even the time you wake up makes a difference in how you sleep, but putting in place a series of purposefully relaxing activities before bedtime will make all the difference. Check out the next points for some ideas of what you could include in yours!
- Magnesium bath salts
Both magnesium and a warm bath can aid better sleep. Magnesium has a direct relationship with our nervous system, helping to keep us calm and quiet. A warm bath has the effect of cooling us down by lowering our core temperature which is a circadian sleep signal. A generous hand full of either of our Bath Salt Blends in the bath and a long soak will be enough to absorb the much needed magnesium into your body.
Lavender is the king of all sleeping scents and aromatherapy has been proven to be an effective sleep aid. Studies show that essential oils around the areas we sleep help to significantly increase the amount of time we spend asleep. This helps us to have more restful and efficient sleep, whilst also assisting us by having a peaceful awakening. Go for either our Calm or Sleepy Head pillow mists or essential oils for electric diffusers.
As a highly regarded relaxation technique, meditation effectively aids our sleep by bringing us to a centered place of stillness. Known to reduce symptoms of insomnia, the sense of calmness it brings to the mind and body prepares us for better sleep. We swear by meditation and recommend downloading the Insight Timer app if you haven't already!
- Fresh air
A drop in our core temperature can help promote our circadian rhythm and inhaling fresh air makes us feel comfortable and relaxed in our environment. Therefore being outside before we want to sleep can have a positive effect.
We know that stretching can increase blood flow and relieve muscle tension, in doing this, it’s helping the repair of muscles and in turn, increases our quality of sleep. A yin yoga session is a great way to deeply stretch, check out Echoyoga online channel for some great sessions!!
When you read you invest yourself into someone else’s story, fiction or nonfiction. You take in new information and are often being distracted from what might be on your own mind. A great stress reducer and one that makes you fall asleep faster!
On the topic of taking your mind off things, removing external distractions will also benefit your sleep. Blackout curtains, eye masks and eye pillows stop sleep from being disturbed by light and earplugs can help us switch off because we know we won’t be woken up by sounds.
- Fresh Bedding
If it’s been a troubling few nights and nothing's working, changing the bedding can make all the difference. Fresh cotton sheets, especially if they’ve been washed with a few drops of essential oils, are inviting to get into and feel comforting on the skin.
- Tea or soothing drinks
Just like food, there are certain drinks that can also make a difference in our sleep. Caffeine-free teas like chamomile or anything with warm milk overall prepares us for sleep and make us feel more relaxed.
- Daily exercise
If restlessness is a factor for disturbed sleep, checking the amount of daily exercise could be the key to changing this. If we get enough daily exercise our bodies increase in temperature and then reduce later in the evening, working to make us feel more in need of a restful night.
- Write everything down
Another cause of tossing and turning in the night can be having too much on our minds. Keeping a journal next to our bed and writing everything down that we have to do the following day or that’s hindering our minds, positively and negatively, can take the pressure off our minds and help us sleep.
- Avoid napping
During the day if we nap it can have a detrimental effect on our night’s sleep. It can upset our circadian rhythm meaning we don’t want to sleep at night and ruins all our routines. If you really need to nap which sometimes we do, keep it to a maximum of 45 minutes and set an alarm.
- Use plants to increase your air quality
Certain plants can have a positive effect on sleep by being in our bedrooms. Their colours calm us, fresh scent soothes us and anytime spent with plants helps to reduce stress!
- The positive affirmation
A study showed that if a person went to sleep for 8 hours saying they would wake up feeling rested, they would. If the same person fell asleep saying that they would still feel tired after 8 hours, they would wake up feeling unrested. You’ll be shocked if you try this!
- White Noise
Nearly 40% of people who use white noise devices have better sleep. White noise blocks out other noises that could disturb your sleep.
- Keep Track
Note down your bedtime activities. Rate your sleep when you wake up and from this, after a few weeks, you can evaluate what has been the best and most effective for you. We’re all individual!