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How to sleep: 10 habits to cultivate in order to fall asleep more easily
Having a good night’s rest is imperative to functioning the next day. Otherwise, the groggy feeling can make everything seem so much harder. It’s time to rejuvenate yourself with these 10 handy sleeping tips.
The Sleep Council’s sleep guru, Professor Jason Ellis of Northumbria University, has 10 guidelines to cultivating good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene takes into account the quality, quality and regularity of sleep.
First and foremost, a crucial element of good sleep hygiene is to “keep a regular sleep/wake schedule”.
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This means waking up at the same time everyday – regardless if it’s your days off – and going to bed at the same time every evening.
“Keeping regular hours helps the body’s sleep system stay in harmony,” said Professor Ellis.
He adds that having a bedtime routine “promotes feelings of sleepiness and drowsiness”, as your body prepares for sleep.
Try to “get out into natural light” as soon as it’s practicable to do so – preferably at the same time everyday.
“Natural light, which can still be effective on a cloudy or grey day, helps reset our internal body clock,” says Professor Ellis.
Being present in natural sunlight helps people to get over that groggy feeling when first getting up.
Why not enjoy a refreshing glass of water in the garden or balcony, or go for a quick walk outside in the morning?
During the day, make time to incorporate daily exercise into your routine, as it “promotes the quantity and quality of sleep”.
However, don’t exercise in the late evening, as this can prevent sleep from washing over you.
Instead, aim to get any exercise done at least “two hours before bedtime”, so that your body has enough time to unwind and relax.
Professor Ellis says to “avoid stimulates that contain caffeine eight hours before bedtime”.
That may seem like a bit of a stretch, but caffeine can interfere with your ability to drift off to sleep.
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“Don’t go to bed full, hungry or thirsty,” advises Professor Ellis, as this can disrupt your sleep.
Feeling hungry or thirsty can wake you up during the night, as can drinking too much fluids.
Eating a heavy meal before bedtime can also make it challenging to fall asleep.
Switch off from your electronic devices before you get into bed. “The blue light” emitted from mobiles, tablets, iPads and Kindles, can “prevent the hormones that make us sleepy from being produced”, and activities on them can keep us “awake”.
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Don’t drink alcohol to fall asleep. Although it’s a sedative, “it can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of sleep”.
Additionally, “avoid nicotine before bed”, as the stimulant can keep you awake.
Make sure the “bedroom is cool, dark and quiet before bed”, which can improve the quality of sleep.
And, finally, “ensure that bedroom clocks aren’t visible”. This can help to “reduce any sleep anxiety”.
Follow these 10 tips to get a better night’s sleep tonight, tomorrow, next week and, hopefully, for the long-term.