When the weather is warm, sleep can elude us, when we most need it.
Build these tips into your bedtime routine and hopefully, soon you’ll be getting plenty of zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Keep safe and well everyone.
Diet and exercise are often extolled as underlying a healthy lifestyle, but let’s not forget the third, equally important factor – sleep. If nodding off can seem elusive, try these few simple tips to help you slip into the land of your dreams in no time.
Everyone feels better after a good night’s sleep and, according to medical science, for most adults that means around eight hours every night, although some people can happily do with less and some need more. The test is whether you feel refreshed, alert and ready to face the day.
The odd bad night doesn’t do any harm, except perhaps to your level of grumpiness, but regular lack of sleep is not good healthwise.
So, short of draping the bedroom with lavender, orange blossom and passion flowers – all sleep promoters, so why not? – what can you do to make sure you get the right amount of shut-eye?
It may be easier said than done, but going to bed in the right frame of mind is important. It’s better not to dwell on highly emotional issues just at lights out, for example.
If you can establish a relaxing, pre-bed routine, that will help enormously. Do some gentle yoga stretches, have a warm bath, listen to soothing music, read, or listen to the radio (but don’t forget to turn it off or it may wake you up at two in the morning!)
Embrace the dark
Even a tiny chink of light can inhibit the brain’s production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, so thick curtains, or even a blackout blind, will help.
No bright lights at all in the bedroom is a good rule, especially those connected with a mobile phone, computer, tablet or any other electronic device.
The blue light emitted by screens also affects melatonin production. In fact, no screen time for a couple of hours before turning in can make a big difference – and it’s probably better to do without an illuminated digital clock. In any case, whatever you do, don’t keep checking the time. That just makes things worse.
The room should be quiet and cool, around 18°C (65°F) suits most people, and free of any work-related paraphernalia. The bedroom is no place for brain strain. If there’s anything on your mind that may keep you awake, write it down before you go to bed, or make a to-do list to reassure yourself you won’t forget something, and then do forget it until the morning.
If hunger pangs are likely to be a problem, it’s fine to have a light snack, yogurt with banana and honey, for example, or a bowl of cereal with milk, while the traditional milky drink at bedtime is just as comforting and sleep-inducing as it always was.
An alcoholic nightcap may also send you to sleep quickly but probably not for long!
The risk is a night of tossing and turning. In any case, it’s always better to get up and do something gentle for a while rather than put up with that.
Coffee, tea, cola or any other caffeine-containing drink are complete no-nos after the early afternoon. Choose a soothing herbal tea, such as chamomile, instead. Bear in mind, too, that a drink before bed may mean a bathroom visit during the night.
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even at weekends (you may need to set an alarm to achieve this).
Once you settle into a routine your body will respond, and you will sleep better.