The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of quality sleep a night. However, it can be easy to knock your sleep off track, leaving you feeling fatigued and unrefreshed. And longer-term poor sleep – also known as insomnia – can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
If you are finding that a night’s rest is still leaving you feeling under par, here’s how to win back a healthy sleep routine.
- Create the right environment
Your bedroom should be conducive to a restful night’s sleep and so noise, comfort, light and temperature all need to be carefully controlled so your body can settle into its natural circadian rhythm – aka, its internal body clock.
The room shouldn’t be too warm, as a cooler temperature of between 18°C and 20°C is considered the optimum for sleep and it should also be as dark as possible too, with minimal noise to reduce any distractions. Add in a comfortable bed and a calming room environment and the stage should be set for a good night’s sleep.
- Have a bedtime routine
A consistent routine before bedtime can be the key to winning back a good night’s sleep. And that means creating and sticking to a set pattern as you prepare to go to bed, including the time you go to sleep and then wake up each morning.
A good tip is to avoid any stimulating activities, including eating a heavy meal a few hours before your bedtime and use this time to get ready and unwind. A bath, meditation, reading a book, all these are good activities to use to get your mind and body relaxed and ready for sleep.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol
Whether it’s alcohol or coffee, a night cap can seem like a good idea, but it can be a sure-fire way to disrupt your sleep routine. Caffeine is a known stimulant which will pep up your nervous system and make it harder for you to fall asleep. And, although alcohol may make you sleepy initially, it also dehydrates as well as reduces the natural sleep hormone, melatonin, interrupting your sleep and causing it to be poorer quality.
Replace your nightcap with a hot milky drink or a simple glass of water for a healthier way to nod off.
- Turn off your tech
You may feel a little lost without your smartphone or device by your side come bedtime, but that tech emits a blue light which can interrupt your natural sleep pattern by suppressing melatonin. Tech by the bedside can also be a distraction, preventing you from falling into a restorative deep sleep.
To reclaim your sleep routine, unplug your tech, or even better remove it from the bedroom at least one hour before you want to go to sleep.
- Try a supplement
Insomnia can take its toll on your ability to function during the day, so while you are resetting your sleep routine, you could also consider taking a supplement to support your energy levels. A good daily multivitamin can ensure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals you need for all-round health while iron supplements have been found to help reduce daytime fatigue.
- Get active
Our final step to winning back your sleep time routine is to ensure you are sufficiently active during the day. Exercising helps to boost your sleep hormones as well as helping you to manage any daytime stress which could prevent you from falling asleep. You only need to do moderate exercise of around 30 minutes to feel the benefits.
But it’s important that you don’t exercise too late in the day as exercise also releases adrenaline which can rev up your body and mind just at the point when it is time for you to switch off and wind down. And that can ultimately impact on your ability to nod off into slumberland.