How to get a better night’s sleep

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We all know life can get hectic – and when it does, our sleep cycles are often the first to feel it. Whether it’s late nights at work, long hours of study, or simply the everyday hustle and bustle, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure you’re getting a solid eight hours of restful sleep. But according to health professionals, a good night’s sleep is crucial for our health and wellbeing, especially when life gets busy. So, take note of our top tips for a better night’s sleep and get yourself some proper shut eye tonight.

Avoid afternoon caffeine

The fact that caffeine keeps the brain awake is not news to anyone, and yet many of us still turn to a sneaky flat white to get us through that mid-afternoon fatigue. However, studies show the effects of caffeine last between four to six hours in the average adult, which means that 3pm coffee could still have you buzzing at 8pm.

To give you the best chance at a good night’s sleep, swap the afternoon coffee with antioxidant-rich foods like almonds, blueberries and dark chocolate. These work to increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain, keeping you focused and alert without interfering with your sleep.

Shower before bed

There’s very little a nice hot shower can’t fix – and that includes a troublesome sleep cycle. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, try having a relaxing shower or bath before bed. The warm water will help to relax your mind and muscles, while the quick cooling that occurs right after you hop out of the shower will stimulate your natural circadian rhythms – in other words, letting your internal clock know it’s time for sleep. Plus, having a shower the night before means you can skip one in the morning – leaving more time for sleep!

Switch off

If, like most people, you find yourself glued to your phone or computer, this could be one of reasons you struggle to fall asleep. Studies show, the blue light emitted from the screens of our digital devices signal to our brains that it’s daytime – even if it’s not. So, to help your brain get ready for sleep, aim to switch off and put away your devices at least half an hour before bedtime. If they have to be left on, keep them away from you and refrain from using them until morning.

Wind down

For many of us, mental stimulation is one of the biggest problems when it comes to falling asleep. Whether it’s finishing a late shift at work or watching an episode of TV, mental stimulation keeps our brains buzzing, making it harder to relax and feel sleepy. It might feel like a big ask, but try to give yourself at least an hour before bed to wind down and relax. Go for a walk or practice some yoga to help your mind get ready for sleep.

Get comfy

It might seem obvious, but many of us overlook the importance of comfortable sleeping conditions in the bedroom. Studies show, factors like room temperature, external noise, pillow height and mattress quality can play a huge role when it comes to falling, and staying, asleep. To give yourself the best chance at a solid, restful eight hours, invest in some good quality bedding that provides both comfort and support, and try to eliminate outside noise. When it comes to room temperature, play around with bedding, heating/cooling and sleepwear to create a moderated, snooze-inducing environment.

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