Sleep – it’s what helps restore our bodies each night, and has other essential functions such as keeping our brains working optimally. It’s also a very pleasant activity, and leaves us – hopefully, at least – feeling refreshed in the morning and ready to get on with all the things our day has in store for us like commuting, studying, working, and leisure activities.
Over the course of a lifetime, we spend a lot of time asleep – and with most adults requiring between about 7 and 9 hours’ sleep per night, this means that many of us will be asleep for approximately a third of our lives.
With all that sleep going on, then, it’s important to make sure that your daily quota of sleep is as restful – and therefore restorative – as it can be. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of top tips to help you nod off naturally and wake up refreshed the next morning.
6. Identify healthy sleep habits.
Remember that habit plays a big part in healthy sleep is really down to habit, some of which we’ve outlined below. There’s a lot of good information available from health care providers, NHS Choices, BBC Health, and so on. It’s worth reading up on healthy sleep and finding new ways to make sure your sleeping routines and sleep hours are as good as they can be. In fact, even if you already feel that you sleep adequately, relaxation techniques could further enhance your evening time winding down period.
5. Be physically active.
Being well-exercised very often also means having a good quality of sleep. Avoid exercise too late in the day though, as this gets you feeling more alert and can mean winding down for sleep is more difficult.
4. Prepare for your descent into sleep.
Get into the habit of relaxing as bedtime approaches, with calm music or relaxation techniques, and if possible avoid doing work or anything taxing during this part of the evening.
3. Clean and clutter-free bed space.
A comfortable bed and clean fresh bedding will instantly make you feel good the second you retire at night, and by keeping the room free of any distractions like televisions, computers, and so on, you should hopefully associate going to bed with restfulness and sleeping.
2. Have a fixed bedtime and getting up time.
It doesn’t need to be rigid, but it’ is important to get your body into a sleep rhythm by getting it to expect sleep at about the same time every night. Avoid sleeping too late on the weekends too – this can mean it’s harder to get to sleep on a Sunday night, leaving you less able to meet Monday morning refreshed and raring to go.
1. Watch what you eat and drink.
We all know that caffeine can increase alertness and should be avoided in the evening before going to bed. But too much food too late at night can also affect sleep, so make sure you’re not tucking into a meal anywhere near bedtime. And avoid alcohol too, which can negatively affect sleep quality. It’s fine to have a non-caffeine drink such as herbal tea before sleeping though.