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Tips to Help you Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

Whether you’re an owl or a lark, a star-fish or a corpse, we all need our sleep. And the quality of our sleep can have a profound and lasting impact on our day-to-day life. If you struggle to sleep, there are certain things you can do to help improve the quality of your slumber – and your body and your mind will start reaping the benefits.

Maintain your natural sleep-wake cycle 

While it can be tempting to revel in that weekend lie-in, try to avoid the temptation as it can lead to jetlag-like symptoms. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to catch up on sleep without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm. Just as we try and get babies to sleep with a regular bedtime, you too should stick to going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, as this helps your body’s internal clock. But don’t go to bed too early, otherwise you’ll end up tossing and turning. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm, you may need an earlier bedtime.

Reassess your eating habits 

Your eating habits play a pivotal role in how well you sleep. While you may think that 3pm coffee is helping you power through that post-lunch slump, caffeine can actually cause sleep problems up to twelve hours after drinking it. The old adage of ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’, might be the secret to slumber and weight loss. Making dinnertime earlier, or enjoying a light supper ensures your body isn’t frantically trying to digest (and therefore work) while you’re trying to sleep. Similarly, try to avoid eating spicy or acidic foods as part of your evening meal as it can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. If you do need an evening snack, stick to soporific foods like bananas, milk, or yoghurt. 

Clear your head 

If you’re one of the growing number who is regularly waking in the night due to residual stress, there are ways you can combat this. Try to develop a bedtime routine where you switch your phone off and spend ten minutes before bed writing down your worries. You don’t need to come up with a solution - often being able to verbalise your worries can help release the stress surrounding them. Money worries, in particular, keep many people awake. And in this case, rather than ignoring them, face them head on. Getting a clear picture of your finances means you can identify any issues and then come up with a way of tackling them, making you feel more positive.

Improve your sleeping environment 

A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to start winding down and let go of the day’s stresses. Help the relaxation process by providing a positive sleeping environment. Ensure the room is cool with adequate ventilation, and noise is kept to a minimum. If you live by a busy road, use ear plugs to help block out the noise. And on those occasions when you just can’t sleep, get up and leave the bedroom. Take a book, or listen to an audiobook until you’re feeling sleepy, and then head back to bed.


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