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Alex Allan Nutrition
By Alex Allan on 26/07/23 | Lifestyle Tips

Top Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Here are my top tips for getting a better night’s sleep. See what you can put into action. 

Get plenty of natural light

Getting outdoors during the day – whatever the time of year - can help regulate the circadian rhythm. Spending time outside or near a window can help, as can using a light therapy box during the winter months. Getting out for a morning walk is a great way to start the day and wake your body up on every level imaginable.

Exercise every day

Try to take some kind of exercise every day. There is evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep. This includes stretching and aerobic exercise. A brisk walk ticks both boxes.

Watch your caffeine

Caffeine has a very long half-life, and it can take 6-8 hours for half the caffeine in your cuppa to leave your body. Consider that any caffeine after 2pm (if you go to bed at 10pm) will have a deleterious effect on the quality of your sleep – even if you cannot feel it.

Similarly, a few alcoholic drinks and eating late at night can also make it harder to get a good quality sleep.

Dim lights in the evening

At the other end of the day, you want to be encouraging your body to make more of the night-time hormones, which means reducing the amount of bright light. If you have dimmer switches, use those. Or use side lights instead of the main overhead lights. These subtle lighting changes can make a difference.

Avoid screens before bed

You learnt earlier that blue light from electronic devices can interfere with the circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep. Think about what else you could do to avoid using things like smartphones, tablets, and computers for at least an hour or so before bedtime. Consider real books or a Kindle (which has a different type of light to a tablet).

Take time to wind down

Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can help signal to the body that it is time to sleep. This is exactly what we do with babies, and there’s no reason why you cannot adopt some of this for yourself: warm bath, read a book, lights out. You might find it helpful to practise relaxation techniques like yoga or try some guided meditation.

Don’t engage in stimulating activities

… like playing a competitive game, watching an edge-of-the seat film, or having an important conversation with a loved one. Even watching the news can be triggering.

Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool

Creating a comfortable sleep environment helps promote better sleep. This includes keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and using comfortable bedding and pillows. Use your bed only for sleep and sex. This may help you completely switch off. Since the sleep hormone melatonin likes it dark, if you don’t live in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have blackout blinds, a generously sized silk eye mask is a good option to create a dark environment.

Ditch that smartphone alarm clock

Consider getting a traditional alarm clock so your smartphone can stay out of the bedroom – this will also help remove temptations to check messages and/or social media. Better still, work out how much sleep you need by going to bed 15 minutes earlier until you find that you wake up naturally before your alarm. That’s your personal sleep requirement.

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the circadian rhythm. This means avoiding staying up late on weekends or sleeping in too much on days off.

And if you’re continuing to have issues with your sleep, why don’t you get in touch for a free health review? We can look at what might be underlying and see if we can get you sleeping better.

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