9 Simple Tips That Will Help You Sleep Better And Wake Up Easier

 


 

 

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A good night sleep can work wonders for your well-being: it can improve your concentration, strengthen your memory, boost your immune system and protect your mental health. Yet, despite all these scientifically proven benefits, so many of us just aren’t getting enough of that sacred shuteye. Some might blame this on stress or an irregular routine, meanwhile others might put it down to different chronotype classifications (we’ll explain what these are later). But, whatever the reason, there are so many simple and across-the-board changes that will make a dramatic difference for everyone. We’ve rounded up our top nine so get ready to say goodbye to sleepless nights and hello to refreshed mornings…

1. Work out your chronotype classification…

There are four main chronotypes – bears, wolves, lions and dolphins – and which classification you fall into basically depends on whether your unique biological clock makes you more of a morning or evening person. Bears (50-55% of the population) sleep a lot but not enough, lack energy after lunch and are most productive between the hours of 11am to 6pm. Lions (15% of the population) are early risers who like to get most things done in the morning and go to sleep early. Wolves (15-20% of the population) hate mornings and are at their most productive in the second half of the day. Meanwhile, dolphins, (10% of the population) can barely sleep at all and usually suffer from insomnia. So, if you want to really want to optimise your sleep, identifying your chronotype can help you to tailor your day and night routine to your body’s natural preferences. This online quiz will help you work out your own.

2. Kick the caffeine habit

In the morning, a coffee can be a much-needed pick-me-up. However, caffeine can stay elevated in your blood stream for six to eight hours, so drinking it late into the afternoon can significantly worsen your quality of sleep. If you aim to go to sleep around 10 or 11pm, try avoiding coffee from around 3pm or sticking to decaffeinated alternatives if you really can’t resist the afternoon coffee run.

3. Manage your light exposure

The amount of light exposure you get, both during the day and the evening, can noticeably impact your ability to transition into sleep. Here’s what you need to know:

By day…

  • Try to expose yourself to lots of light. This will help your body to recognise the contrast between daytime light and evening darkness and, therefore, when to start producing melatonin.
  • Get outside as close to the time of waking as possible by having your morning coffee or walking to work. Fortunately, spring is on the horizon so this should get easier.
  • Step outside on your work breaks. A walk around the block at lunch time will do the trick!
  • When you are inside, make sure to keep all the curtains open. This should help you to stay more alert too!

By night…

  • The bright blue light from your screens can suppress the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin so if you can pull yourself away from your phone and other devices for one to two hours before bed, you’ll definitely notice the benefit when you try to get to sleep.  If this seems like an impossible task, download a light-altering software like f.lux which will gradually remove the blue light from your screens in the hour before bed. You won’t even notice!
  • Avoid reading from backlit devices and opt for a good old-fashioned book instead!
  • If you do wake up in the night, keep the lights down and resist the urge to reach for your phone.

4. Practice smart napping

It’s completely natural to experience a post-lunch dip in energy between 1-3pm and napping is the perfect solution. However, if you don’t want your power nap to impinge on your night-time sleep routine, you have to be smart about it. Research has proven that naps of ten to twenty minutes will allow you to wake up alert without the groggy post-nap feeling. Any longer and you’ll be left feeling a lot worse post-nap because you’ll have to wake yourself from a deeper sleep.

5. Perfect your bedroom environment

You shouldn’t underestimate how much your environment affects your ability to transition into sleep and we’re not just talking about the decor. There are a few general pointers that are great to keep in mind when perfecting your space:

  • Temperature – believe it or not, this can have more of an impact than noise. A cool 18 degrees is the most comfortable temperature for most people.
  • Sound – this isn’t rocket science: loud noises don’t make for a calming sleep set up.
  • Smell – certain scents, like lavender and sandalwood, can be particularly conducive to a relaxing sleep. On the contrary, peppermint, lemon and rosemary can help to invigorate you in the morning so using a diffuser with a timer can help!
  • Mind – your bed is for sleeping, so try to reserve it for this activity only rather than using it as a space to work or watch TV. This way, you can disassociate the activities from each other and protect the serenity of your bedroom.

6. Lock down your pre-sleep routine

Remember when you were little and your parents would tuck you into bed and read you a story to send you to sleep? This is called a pre-sleep routine and they can work miracles for adults trying to get to sleep too! The most important thing here is to try and regulate your body clock by going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time every day. After you’ve got this down, reading, listening to relaxing music, jotting down your thoughts and stresses in a journal or practicing short meditation can help to calm your mind and body before bed.

7. Say no to snoozing

It turns out, your body has a few nifty mechanisms that prepare you to wake up and get moving in the morning. For example, one of these is increasing your core temperature in the two hours before waking in order to make you feel more alert and less sleepy. When you hit the snooze button, this confuses your internal body clock, making it think ‘false alarm’ and stopping all these mechanisms from fulfilling their important morning routine. Ultimately, this means you’ll wake up feeling less refreshed and reluctant to force yourself out of your warm cosy bed. You know what they say, ‘you snooze, you lose’.

8. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up

On that note, drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up is one way to help you avoid the tempting snooze button as the process of drinking will force you to sit up. Plus, the water will invigorate your body, help you to flush out toxins and fire up your metabolism for the day ahead. If you can’t stand the idea of sipping on a lukewarm drink that’s been sitting on the side for hours, a thermal water bottle will keep your water cool and crisp overnight.

9. Make a morning playlist

Just like those upbeat bangers are an essential aspect of your gym routine or a calming set of tunes can set the tone on a lazy Sunday, a playlist full of happy high-energy hits is proven to help you get up and about in the morning. According to music psychologist David M. Greenberg, the best songs for waking you up have optimistic lyrics, a tempo with an average beats-per-minute of 100-130, and a gradual build-up over the course of the song. You could create your own playlist or just type ‘morning’ into Spotify and take your pick!

 

Your diet can also affect how refreshed you feel in the morning! Discover 6 foods that will help you wake up feeling energised and glowing this winter…


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