Getting the Best Night’s Sleep
In previous articles we have explored the health benefits of exercising, nutrition and keeping hydrated. But we haven’t discussed the importance of a good night’s sleep, its effect on overall health and how to achieve a better night’s sleep.
Relaxation techniques aim to clear the mind and help you sleep. Things that may help could be listening to relaxing music, reading or visualisation. Another source of relaxation could be to practice mindfulness and meditation. The NHS describe mindfulness as paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you.¹ Such strategies can improve your mental well-being, you can begin your mindfulness journey with tailored guides available via apps like Headspace and Calm.
Create A Sleep Routine
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekend, is crucial for setting your body’s internal clock. Staying consistent also means that the quality of your sleep will be better. You could also create a bedtime ritual – whether it be settling down with a good book before bed, practising mindfulness or even a hot bath – keeping things consistent will signal to your body and mind that you are going to sleep. For more advice visit Young Minds.
Stay Away From The Caffeine
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by many, but its stimulating effect on your nervous system may stop your body from relaxing at night. An alternative would be to consume decaffeinated drinks in the evening or afternoon or perhaps keep drinking caffeinated tea and coffee in the morning.
Avoid Blue Screen Lights
Reading from a tablet or scrolling through your phone before bed can affect your ability to fall asleep. This is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Often there is a setting on your phone or laptop called ‘Night(time) mode’ that will tone down the blue light of your screen and make your eyes less stressed. Read more about the effects of blue light here.
Having a few alcoholic drinks before sleeping can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep happens 90 minutes after we fall asleep, and disruptions to your REM sleep may lead to daytime drowsiness and poor concentration. To read more about how alcohol can impact your sleep Sleep Foundation’s Website.