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Tips on how to get a better nights sleep

photo of Liz Barker
by
Liz Barker
on
December 8, 2020
contributing author:
How to get better sleep

Last week I asked you what you felt you needed help with most regarding your health and well being and the highest number was around sleep. So today I wanted to give you some tips on how you can try to get a better night's sleep.


We spend about a third of our lives asleep and it plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be. Sleep is vital to our health. Not getting enough sleep can lower your sex drive, weaken your immune system, cause thinking issues, and lead to weight gain. When you don't get enough sleep, you may also increase your risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and even car accidents. Not to mention how grumpy it makes us feel and the impact it has on and productivity and work ability.


Our fast paced high tech modern life is one of the biggest contributors to sleep problems. Artificial light, work and-personal stress can mean our bodies are deprived of sleep and we disturb our vital hormones, melatonin and serotonin, which are responsible for helping us get to sleep.


We can all benefit from improving the quality of our sleep. For many of us, it may simply be a case of making small lifestyle or attitude adjustments in order to help us sleep better.

Here are some practical tips on how to get better sleep:


Power Down - The soft blue glow from a cell phone, tablet, or digital clock on your bedside table may hurt your sleep.
Tip: Turn off TVs, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover any displays you can't shut off. And if you can’t use an eye mask.


Block Your Clock - Do you glance at it several times a night? That can make your mind race with thoughts about the day to come, which can keep you awake .
Tip: Put your alarm clock in a drawer, under your bed, or turn it away from view. And don’t use your phone as your alarm!


Save Your Bed for Sleep and Sex -Your bedroom should feel relaxing. Don’t sit in bed and work, surf the Internet, or watch TV.
Tip: The best sleep temperature for most people is between 18 and 21oc. As we know we need a slightly cooler body temperature to fall asleep.


Rethink Your Drink - Alcohol can make you sleepy at bedtime, but beware. After its initial effects wear off, it will make you wake up more often overnight.
Tip: Non caffeinated hot drinks like a chamomile tea is a better choice.


Limit Caffeine and look for Hidden Caffeine - Coffee in the morning is fine for most people. But as soon as you get to about 2pm, avoid caffeine in foods and drinks.  Even small amounts found in chocolate can affect your ZZZs later that night.
Tip: Read labels. Some pain relievers and sports drinks contain caffeine. Nicotine is also a stimulant like caffeine.


Workout at the right time - Regular exercise helps you sleep better - as long as you don’t get it in too close to bedtime. A post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake. Aim to finish any vigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours before you head to bed.
Tip: Gentle mind-body exercises, like yoga or tai chi, are great to do just before you hit the sack.


Eat Right at Night - Don’t eat heavy foods and big meals too late. They overload your digestive system, which affects how well you sleep.
Tip: Finish eating a couple of hours before bed.

Lower the Lights. Dim them around your home 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Lower light levels signal your brain to make melatonin, the hormone that brings on sleep.

Tip: Use a 15-watt bulb if you read in the last hour before bed or amber light.


Hush Noise - nearby traffic, or a loud dog can chip away at your sleep.
Tip: Use a fan, an air conditioner, or a white noise app or machine. You can also try ear plugs.


Free Your Mind - Put aside any work, touchy discussions, or complicated decisions 2 to 3 hours before bed. It takes time to turn off the "noise" of the day. If you’ve still got a lot on your mind, jot it down and let go for the night. Then, about an hour before you hit the sack, read something calming, meditate, listen to quiet music, or take a warm bath.
Tip: Even 10 minutes of relaxation makes a difference.

Challenge:

Set yourself up tonight for 7-9 hours of sleep. Even if you get to bed and get enough hours sleep we can all improve the quality so try some of the tips above. I promise you will feel the difference!