What can you do if you find yourself tossing and turning every night
Most people know that sleep deprivation has a host of unwanted effects, such as low mood, overeating and poor performance at work. Although the exact number of hours sleep needed differs from person-to-person it will generally be in the region of between 7 and 9 hours.
But what can you do if you find yourself tossing and turning every night, unable to drift off?
Before you visit the doctor or reach for medication, here are 3 tips to get a better night’s sleep tonight.
1) Turn off the tech
When it’s time for sleep, a chemical called melatonin is released in the brain which kicks off the process. Blue light emitted from the type of technological devices lots of us all typically use to wind down at night (smartphones, TV, tablets, laptops) interferes with melatonin production and makes it much harder for us to mentally switch off. To allow your brain to gently wind down for bed, it’s recommended to avoid using tech for at least 2-3 hours beforehand. If this feels like too much, try starting smaller and building up to longer durations in increments, for example, switching off 30 minutes earlier for a week, then an hour the week after, and so on. Try relaxing, tech-free activities instead, such as reading, colouring or listening to relaxing music (without looking at a screen to change it!).
2) Audit your bedroom
What’s the atmosphere like when you walk into your bedroom? Is it a calming haven of relaxation? Or is it more like laundry mountain range?! A clutter-free room makes for a simple, calming environment and gives the conscious brain fewer ‘busy’ things to focus on while you are trying to fall asleep. You should also check out the temperature of your room, with between 16-18 ° C (60-65° F) recommended as the optimum.
3) Get some exercise
A 2013 report by The Sleep Council found that people who exercised 5-6 times a week said that they slept very well most nights compared with those who didn’t exercise. Exercising outdoors during the daytime also has the added benefit of exposing you to plenty of bright light, which will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. There’s no need to overdo it and start up a gruelling regime though - even light exercise can help in promoting a good night’s sleep. Why not try some yoga in the evening as your tech-free wind-down activity?
Good quality sleep is a foundation of overall health and wellness. Which of these tips will you work on today?