It’s World Sleep Day on 19th March 2021 and to celebrate, we are here to share some tips and tricks to make sure you set yourself up for the dreamiest sleep. 

Did you know the average amount of time a person spends sleeping during their lifetime could equal as much as 26 years! And yet so many of us are stuck in a perpetual cycle of feeling lethargic and tired. Add on top of this that an additional seven years on average is spent TRYING to get to sleep… if we were to streamline this time before bed to fall asleep quicker and easier, not only would we get a more restful sleep but we could be saving ourselves YEARS worth of time!

There are a number of factors that play into the quality of sleep you are able to get each night, some of which you are not in control of, however, there are some factors such as the environment you sleep in, what you eat or drink before bed, or what wind down activities you do before you sleep that you can control which can positively influence whether or not you have a restful night. Here are a few of the ways in which you can make small changes to improve your sleep.

Create yourself an evening routine

No doubt you’ve heard of the benefits of having a strong morning routine to set yourself up for a productive day, but did you know that an evening routine can be just as important? It helps to signal to your body and mind that you are winding down for the night, allowing yourself to relax and disconnect from your busy day. Your evening routine may look different to someone else’s, and that is okay – as long as it is a routine you are able to be consistent with, and includes activities that help you to relax then that is what makes the difference. 

Step 1 – Prepare your environment

This may seem obvious, but making sure you have somewhere relaxing and comfortable to rest your head is crucial. Take a look around your bedroom, are there any flashing lights, buzzing noises or other irritating distractions that could keep you awake? How is the temperature in the room, too hot or too cold? How about air flow, do you have a source of fresh air that can easily stream through?

Making little alterations to where you sleep can make a big difference to how comfortable and relaxed you feel as you drift off to sleep, and limits the elements that could cause you to wake in the middle of the night unnecessarily.

Step 2 – Avoid blue light

By ‘blue light’, we mean any light that comes from screens such as TV, mobile phones or tablets. This kind of light keeps your brain stimulated and active, meaning it will be harder for you to switch off and fall asleep. Try to put your screens away at least an hour before you plan to go to bed, maybe switching to reading a book or listening to a podcast.

Alternatively, there are now blue light glasses that can help to filter the blue light that you could use in this hour before going to sleep if ditching the screens is unrealistic for you. 

Step 3 – Be mindful of what you eat and drink before bed

Remember, food is fuel for your body so what you eat before bed will likely have an impact on how it behaves. There are the obvious things to avoid such as caffeine (if you are particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine you may need to consider avoiding it from as early as 2pm in the afternoon!), sugar and any heavy meals that require your body a lot of energy to process. Sleep is an important bodily function and you don’t want to pull any resources away from this focus, so giving yourself a couple of hours between your last meal and when you go to sleep can be beneficial. 

Additionally, while alcohol is often used as a sleeping aid, it can actually have the opposite impact over time, interrupting the vital REM sleep cycle which means while you may fall asleep, you won’t wake up feeling refreshed and well rested. 

Step 4 – Find out what helps you relax

An important step in your evening routine is a relaxing activity that lets your mind slow down and become sleepy. What you choose is completely up to you, but some good options include taking a bath, reading a book or meditation. If you’re not too sure what works best for you yet, give each a go for a few days and see how you feel – maybe you will like all three and can use a combination! Once you have an evening wind down activity, incorporate it into your evening routine as often as you can.

Step 5 – Be consistent

In order for your evening routine to work effectively, it helps to be consistent in order to allow your body to get used to these new signals. Try to head to bed an hour before you actually want to go to sleep, stick to a similar bedtime each night where possible, and while you can still lie in when you want to, try to wake up at the same time each morning in order to establish your circadian rhythm. 

Get rested!

Hopefully you have found a few of these tips helpful and it has reminded you of the importance of your nightly routine. Sleep is so crucial for our health, so let’s not overlook the ways in which we can make your sleep a better experience and maximise our rest.


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