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Lifestyle

The best tips to improve your sleep

By ResLife 30 Nov 2020

Sleep is a big part of our lives and has a great impact on our health and mood. If we sleep well, we will feel refreshed and well-rested. If we have a bad night’s sleep, we will feel tired and irritable.

Evidence suggests that we need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a day and sleeping less than that on a regular basis is associated with an increased risk for several diseases (e.g. obesity, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s) and reduced life expectancy.

Many people struggle with sleep and given the risks of not getting enough sleep, it is worth trying everything you can to ensure that you sleep well. Investing in healthy sleep is investing in your health.

Below are some tips on how to sleep better:

  • Try to reduce blue light from screens before you go to sleep, as it can disrupt melatonin production. If you have the option, you can enable the night mode in your screen, which limits the blue light (red light is best for sleep). Alternatively, you could read a book before going to bed. Increasing exposure to daytime light in the morning and reducing bright light at the night can significantly improve your sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, some soft drinks and energy drinks and chocolate (in a smaller amount). Also, avoid alcohol and smoking. Smoking can reduce your total sleep, regardless of what time you smoke. Alcohol, even though it has a sedation effect, disrupts slow-wave sleep.
  • Try to keep a bedtime routine, going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time. If there is a night that you don’t sleep well, it’s better to wake up at the time you usually wake up, as getting up later can disrupt your body clock.
  • If you find yourself lying in bed unable to sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

  • When you go to bed, try to relax both your mind and your muscles. You could try different relaxation techniques, have a hot bath or listen to sleep meditation.

  • Make your bed and bedroom as comfortable as possible. Create a relaxing atmosphere (the ideal temperature to sleep is 18°C), remove any clutter and make sure your pillow and mattress are comfortable.

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  • Do not eat a heavy meal before going to bed. Cherry juice and warm milk are likely to promote sleep and foods that might help with sleep include cottage cheese, almonds, bananas, pineapple, oranges, kiwi fruit and walnuts.

  • While short naps can be refreshing, avoid long daytime naps, as they can interfere with your sleep.

  • Make sure you exercise regularly as it can help make you physically tired and therefore sleep easier. However, avoid exercising in the evening.

  • Evidence shows that the higher the noise levels at night, the lower the quality of sleep. If you can’t prevent the noise, it might be worth getting some earplugs or playing some relaxing background music.

Finally, if you feel like you don’t get enough sleep, try to catch up on the hours of sleep you have lost (sleep longer in the weekends and have more naps) to reverse the effects of sleep deprivation. However, this only works if the sleep deprivation is short-term. Chronic sleep deprivation may cause irreparable damage to our health. If you suffer from a serious sleep disorder, it would be beneficial to contact your GP for advice.

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Wellbeing,

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