With the pressures of daily living, it can be difficult to catch sufficient shut-eye. From having too much on your mind to staying up way past your bedtime watching that new Netflix series, there are many reasons why you may not be getting a great night’s sleep. The trouble is, this can seriously impact your productivity and concentration levels the following day, making it even harder for you to get up and face the world.
What can be done to improve your sleeping habits? We’ve rounded up five essential tips which can have a big impact on improving your overall sleep quality tonight.
1. Try winding down before bed
The classic advice of trying to wind down in the hour before bed can have many benefits. It helps you to send important “stop” signals to your brain that it’s time for shut-eye, and also guilt-free preoccupation activities such as reading, watching TV, or playing on a phone/tablet (preferably without anything too blue light-emitting!) to get you in a relaxed mood.
2. Ensure your bed is comfortable
This may seem like an obvious point, but a well-rested night relies upon having a quality sleeping surface. Some people spend their extra hours of the day agonizing over which mattress or pillow they should buy, and it’s easy to see why. A quality mattress and pillow can really improve your sleep quality, so don’t scrimp on the cost if you can afford it – always shop around for a good deal though!
3. Maintain a regular sleeping pattern
We all have our own natural sleep patterns that fluctuate slightly over time. Try to maintain a schedule that works for you. Obviously, some factors out of your control (such as work) will interfere with this on occasion, but try and get into the habit of going to sleep at roughly the same time each night. This should help to regulate your natural circadian rhythms – if you would like to know more about circadian rhythms, you can check out this article.
4. Sleep in a darkened room
Your bedroom should be kept as dark as possible during your sleep time. This helps to regulate the production of melatonin – an important hormone for restoring your body and mind after a long day’s work ( source ). If it is difficult to create a completely dark room, it’s worth investing in blackout blinds or curtains to reduce the amount of outside light that you are exposed to. If you have the option of using a face mask, this can be effective too.
5. Don’t use your bed for work/play
It may seem counter-intuitive, but trying to read from a tablet or laptop in bed can often send the message that your brain needs to be stimulated more before you can relax enough for sleep. Switching off from work-related matters earlier in the evening can help to switch off your mind from thinking about things that may be worrying you, and also send a signal to your brain that it’s sleep time.
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