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Ten Tips for a good night's sleep

Ten Tips for a good night's sleep

Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.  In the following article we give our ten top tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. But first, why is adequate and restful sleep so important? 

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.  When you sleep, your body heals and repairs itself at a cellular level. Your brain signals the release of hormones encouraging tissue growth. Your heart and blood vessels are healed and repaired. Your body also stores up energy for the next day’s activities.  Sleep is essential to building your body’s natural defense system.

As you sleep, your body produces more white blood cells, the foot soldiers of your immune system. Your brain forms new pathways to aid in memory and learning. Your body needs sufficient sleep to accomplish these things. It's amazing to think this all happens while we sleep. The human body is truly a wonderful thing.

Ten Tips for a good night's sleep

If you do struggle with insomnia here are a few simple tips which will help you sleep better at night, and be more energetic and productive during the day.

1. Wind down and relax before going to bed

Around half the UK population suffers from stress-induced sleep problems, so it’s vital you take the time to relax before you go to bed. Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization. 

2. Set up a regular sleep pattern

Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at around the same time every morning.

3. Create a restful and comfortable environment

Be sure that your environment is dark, quiet and not too warm or too cold. If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.

4. Avoid technology

Ban your smartphone, computer and TV from your bedroom, and avoid looking at them for an hour before bed. This kind of device emits a blue light, which suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin.

5. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.

6. Take regular exercise

Physical activity is great for sleep, as well as for your health generally. But try not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. 

7. Foods for sleeping and foods to avoid

Eating rice, oats and dairy products can produce chemicals that increase our desire to sleep. As well as the obvious caffeine, in terms of food and drink to avoid, things high in sugar can keep you awake if consumed late in the day. Do not eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.

8. Avoid daytime naps

If you have trouble sleeping, you may feel tempted to catch up on sleep by taking daytime naps. However, unless you’re feeling dangerously sleepy (while driving or operating machinery, for instance), this usually does more harm than good as it makes it more difficult to sleep at night.

9. If you’re not tired, get up

If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep, don't just lie there worrying. Get up for a while and get a drink (no sugar or caffeine, remember) try reading for a little while and go back to bed when you’re feeling a bit sleepier.

10. Take a natural supplement to help you relax

Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including: Ginkgo biloba, glycine, valerian root, magnesium, L-theanine and lavender.
November 21, 2019 — Angelos Panayiotou