I know I’m far from the only one out there who’d like to know how to sleep better, so here are some of my favourite tips…
// LIMIT SCREEN TIME BEFORE BED
I have a really bad habit of getting into bed and then lying there scrolling through Instagram/Bloglovin’/whatever else takes my fancy for a good twenty minutes or so before turning off the light. It was only when I read that the blue light emitted by devices like phones and tablets basically “tricks” your brain into thinking it’s daytime – and thus staying awake – that I decided to try putting down the phone. I don’t manage to stick to this all the time (Well, Instagram can be pretty addictive, can’t it?), but when I do, I definitely get a better night’s sleep.
// AND IN THE MORNING
Similarly, the first thing I do in the morning is to reach for my phone and start scrolling again: not only does that mean it generally takes me much longer to get out of bed, that blue light is no substitute for natural daylight, so it’s better to get outside – or at least open the curtains – than to stare at a screen. If the weather’s nice, I like to drink my first coffee of the day outdoors – it always starts the day on a good note!
// KEEP A JOURNAL
I’m a huge fan of journals, which are cheaper than therapy and more fun to look back on, too, but keeping a diary can also help you have a better night’s sleep. If I try to go to bed with a lot on my mind – or even just a list of tasks that need to be dealt with the next day – I’ll find it hard to get my brain to switch off, so writing down everything I’m worried about, or have to remember to do tomorrow, really helps me empty my mind, and get to sleep. If you don’t want to keep a full diary, even just writing out the next day’s ‘To Do’ list can help your mind relax. Speaking of which…
// TAKE THE TIME TO WIND DOWN
As a self-employed writer who works from home, I can often be found still at my desk at midnight: and when I realise how late it is, I’ll go straight to bed, without taking the time to wind down first. The result is the scenario described above, in which my brain is still buzzing from the events of the day, and I just can’t get it to switch off. Other than writing it all out, I find taking the time to wind down, by reading a couple of chapters of a book, say, will really help my brain draw the line between night and day – and help me get to sleep.
// TRY TO GET INTO A ROUTINE
As tempting as it is to sleep in on the weekends (or any other time you get the opportunity), it’s actually better not to stray too far from your usual routine, so try to get up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every day: your body will get used to the pattern, and will “learn” when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake.
// KEEP YOUR ROOM AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
It sounds obvious, but how often have you tossed and turned all night because it was either too hot or too cold? This happens to me a lot, and although it can be difficult to keep your room at the right temperature, simple measures like keeping an extra blanket or pair of cosy socks near the bed, or opening a window if it’s too warm, will be much more useful than just lying there hoping to nod off anyway.
// DON’T NAP
This has never been an issue for me, because I’m one of those people who just can’t fall asleep during the day, no matter how much I want to, but it stands to reason that if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, sleeping during the day instead isn’t the answer: try to stay awake until your usual bedtime (or as close to it as possible), and you’ll sleep better.
// LIMIT ALCOHOL
A glass of red wine is guaranteed to make me feel instantly sleepy (This is why I stick to white: I’m not much fun at parties if I drink red wine!), but while I’ll fall asleep quickly, I’ll normally wake up again during the night, and sleep fitfully after that: a warm, non-caffeinated drink is a much better option!
Anyone else got any good tips on how to sleep better?[Image]